B-154673, JUL. 24, 1964

B-154673: Jul 24, 1964

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QUARTERMASTER GENERAL OF THE MARINE CORPS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JULY 6. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED. 000 COPIES OF A FOUR-PAGE PUBLICATION WAS SUBMITTED BY THE TIFTON PRINTING COMPANY. THE SECOND LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY HUGHES COLOR LITHO. WHOSE BID WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $210 PER ISSUE FOR 3. THE LOW BID OF TIFTON WAS REJECTED AS BEING NONRESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION AND AWARD OF THE CONTRACT WAS MADE TO HUGHES ON MARCH 30. THAT ITS BID MET ALL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED. PROVIDED ON PAGE THREE THEREOF THAT "THE EMBLEM" IS TO BE PRINTED BY PHOTO OFFSET WITH BLACK INK ON 40/45 POUND (MINIMUM) OFFSET BOOK. BODY AND HEADLINE TYPES WERE SPECIFIED.

B-154673, JUL. 24, 1964

TO MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM P. BATTELL, QUARTERMASTER GENERAL OF THE MARINE CORPS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JULY 6, 1964, FROM THE QUARTERMASTER GENERAL OF THE MARINE CORPS, FILE CH-PAP, IN REGARD TO THE PROTEST OF THE TIFTON PRINTING COMPANY AGAINST THE REJECTION OF ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 67004-1-65 ISSUED BY THE CENTER PURCHASING OFFICE, MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER, ALBANY, GEORGIA, ON FEBRUARY 19, 1964.

THE INVITATION SOLICITED BIDS--- TO BE OPENED MARCH 10, 1964--- FOR FURNISHING ALL NECESSARY LABOR AND MATERIAL TO PRINT THE MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER WEEKLY NEWSPAPER,"THE EMBLEM," BY PHOTO OFFSET PRINTING PROCESS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCHEDULE ATTACHED THERETO FOR THE PERIOD FROM JULY 1, 1964, THROUGH AND INCLUDING JUNE 30, 1965.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED. THE LOWEST BID OF $180 PER ISSUE FOR 3,000 COPIES OF A FOUR-PAGE PUBLICATION WAS SUBMITTED BY THE TIFTON PRINTING COMPANY. THE SECOND LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY HUGHES COLOR LITHO, INC., WHOSE BID WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $210 PER ISSUE FOR 3,000 COPIES OF A FOUR-PAGE PUBLICATION. THE LOW BID OF TIFTON WAS REJECTED AS BEING NONRESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION AND AWARD OF THE CONTRACT WAS MADE TO HUGHES ON MARCH 30, 1964.

TIFTON HAS PROTESTED THE REJECTION OF ITS BID, POINTING OUT THAT IT HAD PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED EDITIONS OF "THE EMBLEM; " THAT IN THIS INVITATION THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REQUESTED CHANGES IN THE PRINTING PROCESSES, THE TYPE OF PAPER USED, TYPES, ETC.; AND THAT ITS BID MET ALL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED.

THE INVITATION, AS AMENDED, PROVIDED ON PAGE THREE THEREOF THAT "THE EMBLEM" IS TO BE PRINTED BY PHOTO OFFSET WITH BLACK INK ON 40/45 POUND (MINIMUM) OFFSET BOOK, BODY AND HEADLINE TYPES WERE SPECIFIED, AND A COMPLETE SAMPLE REPRESENTING THE PRODUCT ON WHICH THE BID IS BASED MUST BE INCLUDED AS A QUALITY SPECIMEN WITH THE BID. THE SAMPLE SUBMITTED BY TIFTON WAS CONSIDERED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AS NONRESPONSIVE TO THE REQUIREMENT OF THE INVITATION IN THAT IT WAS LETTER PRESS PRINTING ON NEWSPRINT IN LIEU OF PHOTO OFFSET ON OFFSET BOOK PAPER AND BECAUSE THE WEIGHT AND GRADE OF THE PAPER WAS NOT THAT SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION. TIFTON ITSELF, IN ITS LETTER OF MARCH 20, 1964, SUBMITTING ITS BID, RECOGNIZED THAT IT WAS NOT COMPLYING WITH THE INVITATION SINCE IT POINTED OUT THAT IT WAS SUBMITTING ITS BID WITH CONDITIONS AND THAT IT WAS PRESENTLY "PRINTING LETTERPRESS ONLY" BUT THAT IF IT WERE "SUCCESSFUL IN BEING THE LOW BID" OFFSET EQUIPMENT OF STANDARD QUALITY WOULD BE PURCHASED TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS.

THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINING PROCUREMENT NEEDS AND FOR DRAFTING SPECIFICATIONS WHICH REFLECT THOSE NEEDS IS PRIMARILY THAT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES CONCERNED AND A DETERMINATION AS TO THE NEEDS WILL NOT ORDINARILY BE QUESTIONED BY OUR OFFICE UNLESS OBVIOUSLY ARBITRARY OR UNREASONABLE. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 554; AND 40 ID. 294, 297. THE FACT THAT THERE IS A CHANGE IN THE PREVIOUS SPECIFICATIONS DOES NOT IN ITSELF WARRANT THE CONCLUSION THAT THE CHANGED SPECIFICATIONS ARE UNREASONABLE AND THERE HAS BEEN NO CONTENTION, NOR IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE, THAT SUCH IS THE CASE.

IT IS DESIRED TO POINT OUT THAT THE INVITATION HERE INVOLVED MAY BE REGARDED AS DEFECTIVE IN THAT IT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF PARAGRAPH 2-202.4 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION, PARTICULARLY WITH REGARD TO SUBSECTION (E) THEREOF. THAT PARAGRAPH REQUIRES THAT THE PROVISION IN AN INVITATION REQUIRING THAT BID SAMPLES BE FURNISHED SHALL CONTAIN A WARNING THAT THE FAILURE TO FURNISH A SAMPLE TO CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION WOULD REQUIRE REJECTION OF A BID AND ALSO, WHERE AS HERE THE SAMPLE WAS TO BE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE QUALITY OF THE WORK, IF IT WAS NOT FURNISHED BY THE TIME SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION, IT WOULD REQUIRE THE REJECTION OF THE BID. IT DOES NOT APPEAR, HOWEVER, THAT THIS DEFECT ADVERSELY AFFECTED COMPETITION IN THIS CASE OR THAT ANY BIDDER OBTAINED AN UNDUE ADVANTAGE AS A RESULT OF THE DEFECT. IN VIEW THEREOF AND SINCE THE CONTRACTOR PRESUMABLY IS PROCEEDING WITH THE WORK AND MAY HAVE CONTRACTED FOR THE SUPPLIES NECESSARY FOR PERFORMANCE OF THE CONTRACT WORK, CANCELLATION OF THE AWARD WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED.