B-156310, JUN. 10, 1965

B-156310: Jun 10, 1965

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

THE MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT COMPANY CONTENDS THAT THE INVITATION FOR THIS PROCUREMENT WAS NOT ADEQUATELY PUBLICIZED AND CIRCULARIZED AND. YOU REPORT THAT THE INVITATION COVERING THIS PROCUREMENT WAS ISSUED ON JULY 9. WAS SENT TO FIVE FIRMS WHO WERE KNOWN SUPPLIERS OF THIS EQUIPMENT. THAT A COPY WAS FORWARDED TO THE LOCAL POSTMASTER (IN ENGLEWOOD) FOR DISPLAY TO THE PUBLIC. ONLY ONE BID WAS RECEIVED. THAT SINCE THIS PRICE WAS CONSIDERED TO BE REASONABLE. AWARD WAS MADE TO THE SOLE BIDDER. COPIES OF THE INVITATION WERE NOT MAILED TO THE PRESCRIBED TRADE PUBLICATIONS OR TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE. BID OPENING IN THIS CASE WAS SCHEDULED FOR JULY 23. CONTAINING A LIST OF FIVE SUGGESTED MANUFACTURERS FOR THIS PROCUREMENT (THE FIVE MANUFACTURERS WHO WERE LATER SOLICITED).

B-156310, JUN. 10, 1965

TO THE HONORABLE MYRL E. ALEXANDER, DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF PRISONS:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 19, 1965, WITH ATTACHMENTS, CONCERNING THE PROTEST OF THE MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT COMPANY, LITTLETON, COLORADO, AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT FOR BOILER PLANT EQUIPMENT FOR THE FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION AT ENGLEWOOD, COLORADO.

THE MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT COMPANY CONTENDS THAT THE INVITATION FOR THIS PROCUREMENT WAS NOT ADEQUATELY PUBLICIZED AND CIRCULARIZED AND, AS A RESULT, IT DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE BIDDING. YOU REPORT THAT THE INVITATION COVERING THIS PROCUREMENT WAS ISSUED ON JULY 9, 1964, BY THE FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS, AND WAS SENT TO FIVE FIRMS WHO WERE KNOWN SUPPLIERS OF THIS EQUIPMENT, AND THAT A COPY WAS FORWARDED TO THE LOCAL POSTMASTER (IN ENGLEWOOD) FOR DISPLAY TO THE PUBLIC. ONLY ONE BID WAS RECEIVED, A BID FROM THE BABCOCK AND WILCOX COMPANY OF DENVER, COLORADO, IN THE AMOUNT OF $31,294; AND THAT SINCE THIS PRICE WAS CONSIDERED TO BE REASONABLE, AWARD WAS MADE TO THE SOLE BIDDER.

COPIES OF THE INVITATION WERE NOT MAILED TO THE PRESCRIBED TRADE PUBLICATIONS OR TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, AS REQUIRED IN PARAGRAPH 17, CHAPTER V, OF THE BUREAU PROCUREMENT MANUAL. THE MANUAL, HOWEVER, EXCEPTS FROM THIS REQUIREMENT INVITATIONS ALLOWING LESS THAN TWO WEEKS FOR OPENING OF BIDS. BID OPENING IN THIS CASE WAS SCHEDULED FOR JULY 23, 1964, OR WITHIN TWO WEEKS OF THE JULY 9 ISSUANCE DATE. IT APPEARS THAT THE ISSUING AUTHORITY ACTED ON THE BASIS OF A MEMORANDUM OF JUNE 25, 1964, FROM AN OFFICIAL OF THE WASHINGTON, D.C. OFFICE, CONTAINING A LIST OF FIVE SUGGESTED MANUFACTURERS FOR THIS PROCUREMENT (THE FIVE MANUFACTURERS WHO WERE LATER SOLICITED), AND STATING AS FOLLOWS:

"WE REALIZE THERE ARE MANY MORE REPUTABLE BOILER MANUFACTURERS WHO CAN MEET THE SPECIFICATIONS BUT IT IS OUR DESIRE TO ATTEMPT TO HAVE LOCAL REPRESENTATION IN ORDER THAT FOLLOW-UP SERVICE CAN BE OBTAINED WITHOUT DELAY OR RED TAPE. ALSO, THE ABOVE NAMED COMPANIES ARE, IN OUR OPINION, LARGE ENOUGH TO HAVE A NATION-WIDE SERVICE STAFF RATHER THAN ONE OR TWO MEN OPERATING FROM A CENTRAL LOCATION FOR ANY SERVICES WHICH ARE REQUIRED BY THE COMPANY. WE DO NOT CONSIDER THE AVERAGE BOILER SALESMAN FULLY QUALIFIED TO ACT AS A SERVICE ENGINEER IN TIME OF TROUBLE.

"AFTER AWARD OF CONTRACT FOR THE BOILER PURCHASE, DRAWINGS AND SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE PIPING WILL BE FORWARDED IN ORDER THAT WE MAY OBTAIN PROPOSALS AND FUNDS TO COMPLETE THE INSTALLATIONS AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE.'

THE MEMORANDUM WAS UNDERSTOOD TO MEAN THAT THE PROCUREMENT SHOULD BE EXPEDITED AND THE SOLICITATION RESTRICTED TO LOCAL FIRMS CAPABLE OF PROVIDING ADEQUATE FOLLOW-UP SERVICE. (FOUR OF THE FIVE FIRMS SOLICITED WERE LOCATED IN DENVER.) BUREAU OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON HAVE ADVISED US, HOWEVER, THAT AN EMERGENCY DID NOT EXIST FOR THIS EQUIPMENT AND IT WAS NOT NECESSARY TO RESTRICT THE TIME FOR BIDDING TO LESS THAN 15 DAYS.

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT THE MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT COMPANY OR ANY OTHER POTENTIAL BIDDER WAS DELIBERATELY PRECLUDED FROM BIDDING ON THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT. SUFFICIENT SOURCES WERE SOLICITED, WE BELIEVE, TO SATISFY THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS OF FULL AND FREE COMPETITION. SEE 34 COMP. GEN. 684; B-155319, NOVEMBER 20, 1964. ACCORDINGLY, WE SEE NO BASIS TO QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF THE AWARD.

WE BELIEVE, HOWEVER, THAT THE TIME PERIOD FOR PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION OF BIDS SHOULD NOT BE SHORTENED UNLESS A CLEAR NEED EXISTS TO EXPEDITE THE PROCUREMENT. ALSO, RECENT CONTRACTORS SHOULD NORMALLY BE INCLUDED ON THE BIDDER MAILING LISTS. FPR 1-2.205; B-143327, JUNE 30, 1960.