B-156459, MAY 11, 1965

B-156459: May 11, 1965

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TO STONE AND STONE: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF APRIL 2. ELECTRIC POWER) IS INCLUDED AS A PART OF THE BID PROPOSAL. BIDDER MUST PROVIDE COMPLETE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF THE PREMISES UNDER PROPOSITION "B.'" BIDS WERE OPENED ON JANUARY 4. THE FOLLOWING BIDS WERE RECEIVED FOR SPACE X: CHART 1. 1414 WEST EIGHTH STREET $599.60 PER MONTH UNDER "PROPOSITION A" SINCE YOUR CLIENT'S BID WAS UNCLEAR. THOMPSON BROTHERS REPLIED THAT WHILE THEY WERE RELATIVE NOVICES AT BIDDING SPACE WITH GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TELEPHONED YOUR CLIENT AND AGAIN REQUESTED CONFIRMATION OF THE BID AND THAT HE WAS ADVISED THAT ALL UTILITIES WOULD BE INCLUDED AT $540 PER MONTH WHICH IN EFFECT CONSTITUTED THE BID SUBMITTED UNDER "PROPOSITION B" AS A BID OF $540 PER MONTH IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF "PROPOSITION A.'.

B-156459, MAY 11, 1965

TO STONE AND STONE:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF APRIL 2, 1965, AND YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 7, 1965, PROTESTING ON BEHALF OF YOUR CLIENT, THOMPSON BROTHERS, AGAINST AWARD OF A LEASE UNDER INVITATION NO. R7-38 65 TO ANY OTHER BIDDER.

THE INVITATION, ISSUED ON DECEMBER 4, 1964, REQUESTED BIDS FOR APPROXIMATELY 4,195 SQUARE FEET OF NET USABLE AIR CONDITIONED OFFICE SPACE, 1,300 SQUARE FEET OF STORAGE SPACE AND 1,900 SQUARE FEET OF FENCED ALL-WEATHER AUTOMOBILE PARKING SPACE DIVIDED INTO FOUR SEPARATE BLOCKS FOR USE BY SEVERAL AGENCIES WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF AMARILLO, TEXAS. YOUR PROTEST CONCERNS "SPACE X," DESCRIBED IN ATTACHMENT NO. 2 AS CONSISTING OF 2,626 SQUARE FEET, CONTIGUOUS ON ONE FLOOR, FOR OCCUPANCY BY THE OFFICE OF FIELD SOLICITOR, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR.

PARAGRAPH 3B OF ATTACHMENT NO. 1 TO THE INVITATION REQUIRED ALL BIDDERS TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS ON ,PROPOSITION A" WHICH INCLUDED ALL BUILDING OPERATING SERVICES AND UTILITIES TO BE FURNISHED AS PART OF THE RENTAL CONSIDERATION. THE SAME PARAGRAPH AUTHORIZED BIDDERS TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS ON ,PROPOSITION B," AS FOLLOWS:

"IF THE SPACE COMPRISES AN ENTIRE BUILDING OR OFFERS A SEPARATELY OPERATED UNIT WITHIN A BUILDING, BIDDER MAY SUBMIT ALTERNATE BIDS WHICH DO NOT INCLUDE WATER, FUEL AND/OR ELECTRIC SERVICE. THE BID MUST SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFY WHICH UTILITY (FUEL, WATER, ELECTRIC POWER) IS INCLUDED AS A PART OF THE BID PROPOSAL. BIDDER MUST FURNISH SEPARATE METERS FOR ANY UTILITY NOT INCLUDED. ALL OTHER SERVICES ITEMIZED IN PROPOSITION "A" MUST BE OFFERED BY BIDDER, AND BIDDER MUST PROVIDE COMPLETE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF THE PREMISES UNDER PROPOSITION "B.'"

BIDS WERE OPENED ON JANUARY 4, 1965, AND THE FOLLOWING BIDS WERE RECEIVED FOR SPACE X:

CHART

1. MR. J. RUBIN, AMARILLO PETROLEUM BUILDING $600 PER MONTH

UNDER

"PROPOSITION A"

2. THOMPSON BROTHERS, 707 MADISON STREET $840 PER MONTH

UNDER

"PROPOSITION A"

THOMPSON BROTHERS, 707 MADISON STREET $540 PER MONTH

UNDER

"PROPOSITION B"

UTILITIES IDENTIFIED IN "PROPOSITION B" INCLUDED

FUEL, WATER AND ELECTRIC CURRENT FOR LIGHTING AND

OFFICE EQUIPMENT, ELECTRIC POWER FOR AIR CONDITIONING

AND ELEVATOR.

3. W. A. MAYS, 1414 WEST EIGHTH STREET $599.60 PER MONTH

UNDER

"PROPOSITION A"

SINCE YOUR CLIENT'S BID WAS UNCLEAR, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER BY TELEGRAM OF JANUARY 5, 1965, REQUESTED CONFIRMATION. BY LETTER DATED JANUARY 6, 1965, THOMPSON BROTHERS REPLIED THAT WHILE THEY WERE RELATIVE NOVICES AT BIDDING SPACE WITH GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, THEY HAD ,ELECTED TO STAND WITH OUR $540.00 A MONTH BID.' THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON JANUARY 7, 1965, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TELEPHONED YOUR CLIENT AND AGAIN REQUESTED CONFIRMATION OF THE BID AND THAT HE WAS ADVISED THAT ALL UTILITIES WOULD BE INCLUDED AT $540 PER MONTH WHICH IN EFFECT CONSTITUTED THE BID SUBMITTED UNDER "PROPOSITION B" AS A BID OF $540 PER MONTH IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF "PROPOSITION A.' THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ACCEPTED THE BIDDER'S EXPLANATION AND CONSIDERED THE BID ACCORDINGLY. NEVERTHELESS, AWARD WAS MADE ON MARCH 29, 1965, TO M. J. RUBIN, MANAGER OF THE AMARILLO PETROLEUM BUILDING FOLLOWING A DETERMINATION BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT HIS BID WAS MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED.

GSA HAS REPORTED THAT IN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S ANALYSIS OF THE BIDS CONTAINED IN THE CERTIFICATE OF AWARD HE ADDED CERTAIN COMPUTATIONS TO THE BASE BIDS OF THE BIDDERS AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE BIDDER BID AM-T. TELEPHONE TELEPHONE FURNITURE COST

MILEAGE MOVE MOVE 1. M. J. RUBIN $600 16.00

0 0 616.00 PER MO. 2. THOMPSON $540 24.00 2.75 51.49 618.24 PER MO.

BROS. 3. W. A. MAYS $599.60 40.00 2.75 51.49 693.84 PER MO.

GSA HAS FURTHER REPORTED THAT:

"THE FURNITURE MOVE WAS ESTIMATED AT $1500 WHICH SUM WAS DIVIDED OVER THE 29.13 MONTH TERM OF THE LEASE OR $51.49 PER MONTH. THE SAME FORMULA WAS APPLIED TO THE MOVEMENT OF TELEPHONES AT A TOTAL COST OF $80. THE TELEPHONE MILEAGE FIGURE IS AN EXACT CONSTANT CHARGE. BASED SOLELY ON THESE ITEMS, THE BID OF M. J. RUBIN WAS APPROXIMATELY $65 LESS THAN THE BID OF THOMPSON BROTHERS AND $2,267 LESS THAN THAT OF W. A. MAYS OVER THE TERM OF THE LEASE. THERE ARE ADDITIONAL SAVINGS ACCRUING TO THE GOVERNMENT BY REMAINING AT THE PRESENT LOCATION WHICH ARE DIFFICULT TO COMPUTE, BUT WHICH ARE, NEVERTHELESS, REAL AND SUBSTANTIAL.

"THE PROPERTY OFFERED BY M. J. RUBIN (AMARILLO PETROLEUM BUILDING) IS LOCATED ONLY THREE BLOCKS FROM THE FEDERAL BUILDING. THE BUILDING OFFERED BY THOMPSON BROTHERS AT 707 MADISON STREET IS .7 OF A MILE FROM THE FEDERAL BUILDING. THE FIELD SOLICITOR'S OFFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ADVISES THAT VERY CLOSE LIAISON IS MAINTAINED BETWEEN THAT OFFICE AND THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION AND THE CANADIAN RIVER PROJECT. MESSENGER SERVICE TO AND FROM THE TWO LOCATIONS IS ON A SIX TIME A DAY BASIS. PERSONAL VISITS FOR CONSULTATIONS WITH THE FIELD SOLICITOR'S OFFICE FOR ABOUT 60 MEETINGS A WEEK ARE MADE BY WALKING, WHEREAS IF THE DISTANCE WERE INCREASED FROM .3 MILE TO .7 MILE, WE ARE ADVISED THAT AUTOMOBILES WOULD BE REQUIRED TO TRANSPORT THE PEOPLE FROM LOCATION TO LOCATION. THE FILED SOLICITOR'S OFFICE ESTIMATED THAT THE WEEKLY COSTS, IF THE OFFICES WERE RELOCATED TO THE THOMPSON BROTHERS BUILDING, WOULD BE $152.40. WE HAVE NO ESTIMATE AS TO COSTS INCIDENT TO OCCUPATION OF THE AMARILLO PETROLEUM BUILDING, BUT SINCE IT IS LESS THAN HALF THE DISTANCE FROM THE FEDERAL BUILDING, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THERE MUST BE A CONSIDERABLE MONETARY SAVING AT THE LOCATION CLOSEST TO THE FEDERAL BUILDING.

"ADDITIONALLY, THERE IS AN INCALCULABLE SAVING DUE TO THE AVOIDANCE OF DISRUPTION CONSEQUENT ON MOVING THE OFFICE.'

YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 7, 1965, TOOK ISSUE WITH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION AND STATED THAT IT WAS DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO COMPREHEND A LOCATION SO MUCH MORE ADVANTAGEOUS AS TO OFFSET THE $60 MONTHLY SAVINGS WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN EFFECTED BY ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR CLIENT'S BID. SPECIFICALLY YOU REFERRED TO THE COST OF MOVING EIGHT PHONES FROM THE SPACE IN THE PETROLEUM BUILDING PRESENTLY OCCUPIED BY THE OFFICE OF FIELD SOLICITOR, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, UNDER A LEASE WHICH AS INDICATED IN ATTACHMENT NO. 2 TO GSA FORM 1362, EXPIRES ON JUNE 5, 1965, WOULD BE $10 PER PHONE, PLUS AN INCREASE IN MONTHLY TELEPHONE BILL OF $1.00 PER PHONE. YOU STATED, IN EFFECT THAT THE INCREASED COST OF $10.23 PER MONTH FOR MOVING THE PHONES COMPUTED OVER THE FIRM TERM ENDING OCTOBER 31, 1967, OR APPROXIMATELY $298, WOULD NOT JUSTIFY THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE HIGHEST BID SUBMITTED BY M. J. RUBIN AS BEING MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT AND THAT ACTUALLY NO TRUE ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT RESULTED FROM SUCH ACCEPTANCE.

IF THE FACTORS NOW URGED BY GSA WERE NECESSARY FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE EVALUATION OF BIDS, THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION. HOWEVER, YOUR CLIENT'S BID WAS PROPERLY FOR REJECTION IN ANY CASE UNDER THE RECOGNIZED RULE THAT AN AMBIGUOUS BID MAY NOT BE EXPLAINED AFTER OPENING IN A SITUATION WHICH WOULD, IN EFFECT, ALLOW THE BIDDER TO DETERMINE AFTER OPENING, WHETHER TO HAVE HIS BID CONSIDERED. 40 COMP. GEN. 393, 396. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS IN ERROR IN PERMITTING THE BID EXPLANATION.