B-151801, AUG. 29, 1963

B-151801: Aug 29, 1963

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

WHICH MATTER WAS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR REPORT OF JULY 25. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON APRIL 8. BIDS WERE OPENED ON MAY 8. THE THREE LOWEST BIDS WERE EVALUATED AS FOLLOWS: TABLE MANPOWER. THE SURVEY ON MANPOWER WAS CONDUCTED ON MAY 22. THE REPORT OF SURVEY WAS ISSUED UNDER DATE OF MAY 28. WAS ALSO RECEIVED FROM THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL. IN ORDER THAT THE CONTRACTOR WOULD HAVE THE TWO- WEEK NOTICE SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT MANPOWER WAS NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER AS TO CAPACITY. THAT MERCURY WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE AS TO CREDIT. - WAS A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY IS FIFTEEN WORKING DAYS AFTER SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN NOTIFIED.

B-151801, AUG. 29, 1963

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

THIS REFERS TO THE PROTEST OF MANPOWER, INCORPORATED, OF PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, AGAINST THE REJECTION OF ITS LOW BID UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 204-56-63, ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AIR STATION, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, WHICH MATTER WAS THE SUBJECT OF YOUR REPORT OF JULY 25, 1963, TO THIS OFFICE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON APRIL 8, 1963, AS A TOTAL SET-ASIDE FOR SMALL BUSINESS, COVERING JANITORIAL AND CLEANING SERVICES FOR GOVERNMENT-OWNED AND OCCUPIED SPACES AT THE PENSACOLA AIR STATION, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR STARTING JULY 1, 1963. THE INVITATION STATED THAT THE CONTRACTOR WOULD BE NOTIFIED OF THE AWARD NOT LATER THAN TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF CONTRACT TO PERMIT ASSEMBLY OF LABOR AND SUPERVISORY FORCES, DEVELOPMENT OF SCHEDULES, AND ARRANGEMENT OF OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS PRIOR TO BEGINNING ACTUAL PERFORMANCE.

BIDS WERE OPENED ON MAY 8, 1962, AND THE THREE LOWEST BIDS WERE EVALUATED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

MANPOWER, INCORPORATED

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA $149,216.97

MERCURY MAINTENANCE CORPORATION

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 166,065.26

MAINTENANCE, INCORPORATED 180,674.44

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER INITIATED ACTION TO OBTAIN PRE-AWARD SURVEYS ON MANPOWER AND MERCURY. THE SURVEY ON MANPOWER WAS CONDUCTED ON MAY 22, 1963, AND THE REPORT OF SURVEY WAS ISSUED UNDER DATE OF MAY 28, 1963. THE REPORT RECOMMENDED THAT MANPOWER OF PENSACOLA SHOULD NOT RECEIVE THE AWARD ESSENTIALLY BECAUSE THE BIDDER LACKED THE EXPERIENCE AND FACILITIES TO PERFORM THE CONTRACT.

A SURVEY REPORT, DATED MAY 31, 1963, WAS ALSO RECEIVED FROM THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, ON MERCURY, WHICH INDICATED DEFICIENCIES AS TO THAT BIDDER.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT WHEN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REQUESTED THE PRE- AWARD SURVEYS (BY LETTERS OF MAY 17, 1963), HE REQUESTED THAT THE SURVEY RESULTS BE FORWARDED EARLY ENOUGH SO THAT THE CONTRACT COULD BE PLACED PRIOR TO JUNE 3, 1963, IN ORDER THAT THE CONTRACTOR WOULD HAVE THE TWO- WEEK NOTICE SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION.

ON JUNE 5, 1963, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT MANPOWER WAS NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER AS TO CAPACITY, THAT MERCURY WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE AS TO CREDIT, AND THAT MAINTENANCE--- THE CONTRACTOR UNDER THE PRIOR YEAR CONTRACT--- WAS A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. HE INCLUDED A CERTIFICATION IN THE FILE, DATED JUNE 5, 1963, WHICH STATES AS FOLLOWS:

"THE SERVICES TO BE PERFORMED UNDER THE PROPOSED CONTRACT MUST BEGIN ON 1 JULY 1963. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS, THE CONTRACTOR MUST BE NOTIFIED OF CONTRACT AWARD NOT LATER THAN TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF CONTRACT. THE USUAL LENGTH OF TIME, AS SET FORTH IN ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION, TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY IS FIFTEEN WORKING DAYS AFTER SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN NOTIFIED. IN VIEW OF THESE FACTS, THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT TIME TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY FROM SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION FOR MANPOWER, INCORPORATED, AND MERCURY MAINTENANCE CORPORATION, PRIOR TO AWARD OF CONTRACT.

"I CERTIFY THAT TIME INTERVAL TO OBTAIN THESE CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY WOULD SERIOUSLY AFFECT THE EXPEDITIOUS AWARD OF THE CONTRACT.'

ON JUNE 5, 1963, AWARD WAS MADE TO MAINTENANCE, INCORPORATED; AND BY LETTER DATED JUNE 10, 1963, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTED TO THE SBA THAT:

"THE DETERMINATION AS TO NON-RESPONSIBILITY TO MANPOWER, INCORPORATED, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, THE LOW BIDDER, WAS BASED ON A REPORT FROM THE MATERIAL INSPECTION SERVICE, U.S.N., THAT THE RESULTS OF A PRE-AWARD SURVEY SHOWED THAT MANAGEMENT OF MANPOWER, INCORPORATED DID NOT HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE IN THE JANITORIAL AND CLEANING FIELD AND DID NOT HAVE PERSONNEL TO PERFORM THESE SERVICES. THE FIRM HAD MADE NO ARRANGEMENT TO EMPLOY AND TRAIN PERSONNEL; HAD MADE NO ARRANGEMENT FOR OBTAINING SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT REQUIRED TO PERFORM THESE SERVICES; NOR MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUITABLE STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION. THIS FIRM HAS NEVER BEEN ENGAGED IN JANITORIAL AND CLEANING SERVICES AND COULD NOT SATISFACTORILY PERFORM THE REQUIRED SERVICES.

THE SERVICES UNDER THE CONTRACT MUST BEGIN 1 JULY 1963 AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS, THE CONTRACTOR MUST BE NOTIFIED NOT LATER THAN TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF CONTRACT; THEREFORE, THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT TIME TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY.'

MANPOWER, INCORPORATED, PROTESTS THE REJECTION OF ITS LOW BID ON THE BASIS, INTER ALIA, THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS REQUIRED TO REFER THE MATTER TO THE SBA FOR POSSIBLE ISSUANCE OF A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY.

ASPR 1-705.6 (B) (I) PROVIDES THAT A COC REFERRAL IS NOT MANDATORY--

"* * * WHERE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CERTIFIES IN WRITING THAT AWARD MUST BE MADE WITHOUT DELAY, AND PROMPTLY ADVISES THE SBA REPRESENTATIVES THEREOF, AND INCLUDES IN THE CONTRACT FILE A STATEMENT SIGNED BY HIM WHICH JUSTIFIES THE CERTIFICATE. A COPY OF THE STATEMENT SHALL BE FURNISHED THE SBA REPRESENTATIVES.'

THE REGULATION REQUIRES THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER MUST JUSTIFY THE CERTIFICATE. ON THE BASIS OF THE RECORD BEFORE US WE DO NOT FIND THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER JUSTIFIED HIS CERTIFICATE. IN THE FIRST PLACE, WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FAILED TO REFERMANPOWER'S BID TO THE SBA IN LATE MAY OF 1963, WHEN IT WAS ALREADY CLEAR TO HIM THAT THE BID WAS TO BE REJECTED AS TO CAPACITY. BUT EVEN ON JUNE 5, 1963, SURELY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER COULD HAVE ATTEMPTED TO OBTAIN FROM MANPOWER A WAIVER OF THE TWO-WEEK NOTICE RATHER THAN REJECT ITS BID. APPARENTLY, HE DID NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN AN EXTENSION OF THE PRIOR YEAR CONTRACT WITH MAINTENANCE, PENDING AWARD.

WE CONCLUDE THAT THE LOW BIDS OF MANPOWER AND MERCURY SHOULD HAVE BEEN REFERRED TO THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION. ACCORDINGLY, THE BIDS WERE IMPROPERLY REJECTED. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THE VALIDITY OF THE AWARD TO MAINTENANCE, INC., MUST BE CONSIDERED AS DEPENDENT UPON DETERMINATIONS OF THE SBA WITH RESPECT TO THE LOW BIDS. COMP. GEN. 106, 111.