B-155560, NOV. 30, 1964

B-155560: Nov 30, 1964

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TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 6. INFORMATION WAS TRANSMITTED TO THE UNITED STATES PROPERTY AND FISCAL OFFICERS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU THAT RADIO SET. BIDS WERE RECEIVED FROM GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY AND FROM REPCO. REPCO QUALIFIED ITS BID BY INCLUDING IN ITS LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE: "WE ARE PLEASED TO SUBMIT OUR BID ON SUBJECT IFB. WE ARE THE DESIGNERS AND SOLE MANUFACTURERS OF THE AN-PRC-58 AT THIS TIME. IF TWO FREQUENCY IS DESIRED. IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE AN/PRC/59/SIC) AND IT COMES STANDARD WITH A VINYL COVERED FABRIC HARNESS. THE AN-PRC 58 IS SUPPLIED WITH STANDARD SQUELCH QUIETING NORMALLY FOUND IN COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT.'.

B-155560, NOV. 30, 1964

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 6, 1964, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE DIRECTOR OF PROCUREMENT, OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, TRANSMITTING FOR OUR DECISION THE FILE PERTAINING TO THE PROTEST OF REPCO INCORPORATED AGAINST AWARD OF CONTRACT MADE TO GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. NG-41-292-65-4.

BY NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU LETTER DATED APRIL 31, 1964, ADDRESSED TO THE ADJUTANTS GENERAL OF ALL STATES, INFORMATION WAS TRANSMITTED TO THE UNITED STATES PROPERTY AND FISCAL OFFICERS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU THAT RADIO SET, AN/PRC-58, FSN-5820-034 7403, WHILE AUTHORIZED IN CURRENT TABLES OF ALLOWANCES, WOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE THROUGH NORMAL SUPPLY CHANNELS FOR SOME TIME. THIS LETTER AUTHORIZED EACH AIR NATIONAL GUARD ACTIVITY HAVING A VALID REQUIREMENT TO PURCHASE SUITABLE COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENT. THE LETTER STATED THAT THE COMMERCIAL RADIO SETS MUST MEET CERTAIN CRITERIA AND ALSO INCLUDED MISCELLANEOUS OPTIONS. THEREAFTER, ON AUGUST 27, 1964, THE UNITED STATES PROPERTY AND FISCAL OFFICER FOR TEXAS ISSUED INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. NG-41-292-65-4 ANNOUNCING THAT SEALED BIDS WOULD BE RECEIVED UNTIL 11:00 A.M., SEPTEMBER 17, 1964, FOR THE FOLLOWING SUPPLIES (6 EACH):

RADIO SET, PORTABLE AN/PRC-58

FSN 5820-034-7403, FREQ. 148.485 M.C.

(AS PER SPECIFICATIONS AND SCHEDULE ATTACHED)

IN RESPONSE TO THE SUBJECT INVITATION, BIDS WERE RECEIVED FROM GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY AND FROM REPCO. BOTH BIDDERS QUALIFIED THEIR BIDS. REPCO QUALIFIED ITS BID BY INCLUDING IN ITS LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

"WE ARE PLEASED TO SUBMIT OUR BID ON SUBJECT IFB. WE ARE THE DESIGNERS AND SOLE MANUFACTURERS OF THE AN-PRC-58 AT THIS TIME, AND WISH TO MAKE MENTION OF THREE ITEMS IN THE IFB WHICH EITHER CONFLICT WITH THE AN/PRC-58 OR THAT WE MUST MENTION SEPARATELY.

"ITEM 1, PAGE 1 LISTS A SINGLE FREQUENCY, HOWEVER PAGE 2, ITEM 2 ASKS FOR TWO FREQUENCY. IF TWO FREQUENCY IS DESIRED, PLEASE ADD $40.00 TO OUR BID PRICE.

"ITEM 2/B), A LEATHER CARRYING CASE, IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE AN/PRC/59/SIC) AND IT COMES STANDARD WITH A VINYL COVERED FABRIC HARNESS.

"ITEM 3 TONE SQUELCH ASKED FOR ON PAGE TWO, ITEM 2 (C), THE AN-PRC 58 IS SUPPLIED WITH STANDARD SQUELCH QUIETING NORMALLY FOUND IN COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT.'

ALSO, IN SUBMITTING AN ALTERNATE BID, REPCO STATED AS FOLLOWS:

"AS AN ALTERNATIVE WE WISH TO OFFER OUR TEK 10-4 COMMERCIAL VERSION WHICH ALSO INCORPORATES SOLID STATE PLUG-IN MODULE CIRCUITRY.

"THE SPECIAL TONE SQUELCH USED IN SELECTIVE SYSTEM CALLING IS ALSO NOT AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME IN THE TEK-10-4. LIKE THE AN/PRC-58 IT IS ALSO SUPPLIED WITH STANDARD SQUELCH QUIETING.'

WITH REGARD TO THE BID SUBMITTED BY GENERAL ELECTRIC IN RESPONSE TO THE SUBJECT INVITATION, GENERAL ELECTRIC IN ITS LETTER TRANSMITTING ITS BID STATED AS FOLLOWS:

"WE ARE PROPOSING OUR VOICE COMMANDER III FM TWO-WAY PERSONAL PORTABLE UNIT, WHICH INCORPORATES SOLID STATE CIRCUITRY. THIS UNIT HAS PROVEN TO BE EASILY SERVICEABLE AND RELIABLE, HOWEVER, IT IS NOT A TACTICAL UNIT.'

NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING QUALIFICATIONS BY BOTH BIDDERS, CONTRACT DA -41-292-NG-1086 FOR SIX PORTABLE RADIO SETS WAS AWARDED ON SEPTEMBER 18, 1964, TO GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA, AT A TOTAL CONTRACT PRICE OF $2,856.

THEREAFTER, REPCO, BY LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 29, 1964, TO THE UNITED STATES PROPERTY AND FISCAL OFFICER FOR TEXAS, PROTESTED THE AWARD OF CONTRACT MADE TO GENERAL ELECTRIC. AFTER A FULL EVALUATION OF THE MATTER, THE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU HAS DETERMINED THAT THE DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGE OF THE INVITATION WAS NOT OF SUFFICIENT CLARITY TO PERMIT FULL AND FREE COMPETITION. TO THIS END, IT IS POINTED OUT FROM THE RECORD AS FOLLOWS:

"THE DESCRIPTION OF THE ITEM IN THE SCHEDULE ON THE FIRST PAGE OF THE INVITATION (SF-33) IS NOT CONSISTENT WITH THE REQUIRED CRITERIA LISTED ON THE SECOND PAGE OF THE INVITATION (SF-36, CONTINUATION SHEET). THE FIRST SHEET CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING UNDER THE HEADING,"SUPPLIES OR SERVICES"

RADIO SET, PORTABLE AN/PRC-58

FSN 5820-034-7403, FREQ. 148.485 M.C.

THIS MENTION OF A SINGLE SPECIFIC FREQUENCY (148.485 M.C.) CONFLICTS WITH THE STATEMENT ON THE SECOND SHEET THAT EACH SET SHALL BE EQUIPPED FOR DUAL CHANNEL OPERATION. THE CONFUSION AS TO WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT IS DESIROUS OF PURCHASING A RADIO SET WHICH OPERATES ON A SINGLE FREQUENCY (SPECIFICALLY 148.485) OR A SET WHICH CAN BE OPERATED ON TWO FREQUENCIES IS ACCENTUATED FURTHER BY THE INCLUSION IN THE SECOND SHEET OF "FREQUENCY RANGE: 148-174 MINIMUM.' THE SECOND SHEET ALSO STATES THAT EACH SET SHALL BE EQUIPPED WITH TONE SQUELCH. IN COMMENTING ON "TONE SQUELCH" REPCO (PRESENTLY MANUFACTURING RADIO SET AN/PRC-58 UNDER A GOVERNMENT CONTRACT) STATES IN ITS LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL (TAB H) THAT "TONE SQUELCH IS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE AN/PFC 58.' THESE INCONSISTENCIES RENDER THE INVITATION AMBIGUOUS AS TO JUST WHAT THE BIDDER WAS REQUIRED TO FURNISH.'

BASED ON THE FOREGOING, PERMISSION IS REQUESTED BY THE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT AND READVERTISE, AND THE OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY CONCURS IN RECOMMENDING CANCELLATION. THIS CONNECTION, IT IS NOTED THAT GENERAL ELECTRIC HAS BEEN NOTIFIED TO SUSPEND SHIPMENT ON THE RADIOS IN QUESTION, AND WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY THE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU THAT GENERAL ELECTRIC HAS BEEN CONTACTED IN RESPECT TO POSSIBLE CANCELLATION OF THEIR CONTRACT AND HAD NO DESIRE TO SUBMIT ANY CONTENTIONS IN OPPOSITION TO SUCH CANCELLATION.

WE AGREE WITH THE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU THAT THE DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGE OF THE SUBJECT INVITATION WAS AMBIGUOUS AND NOT OF SUFFICIENT CLARITY TO PERMIT FULL AND FREE COMPETITION, AND THIS IS FURTHER BORNE OUT BY THE FACT THAT BOTH GENERAL ELECTRIC AND REPCO IN PREPARING THEIR BIDS FOUND IT NECESSARY TO QUALIFY THEIR BIDS IN VIEW OF THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION. SEE 39 COMP. GEN. 570.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE INVITATION WAS DEFECTIVE, THE AWARD MADE THEREUNDER SHOULD BE CANCELED AND THE PROCUREMENT SHOULD BE ADVERTISED UNDER SPECIFIC SPECIFICATIONS THAT MORE ACCURATELY STATE THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT.