B-157770, DEC. 13, 1965

B-157770: Dec 13, 1965

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THE 12 BIDS RECEIVED WERE OPENED AND IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDDER WAS GENERAL PRODUCTS MANUFACTURING CO. WHICH WAS LOWER THAN GENERAL PRODUCTS. WAS MAILED REGISTERED. WAS NOT RECEIVED IN THE PROCUREMENT AND PRODUCTION DIRECTORATE. AWARD WAS NOT MADE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 15. YOU HAVE SUBMITTED A STATEMENT FROM THE ASSISTANT POSTMASTER AT BRAZIL. THAT THE BID WAS DISPATCHED FROM THAT OFFICE ON THE EVENING OF JUNE 10. SHOULD HAVE REACHED DOVER. THE NEXT MORNING IF ALL CONNECTIONS OF AIR FLIGHTS WERE MADE ON SCHEDULE. UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS IT SHOULD HAVE ARRIVED AT DOVER AT 11:30 A.M. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DELIVERED TO THE PICATINNY ARSENAL BEFORE 2 P.M.

B-157770, DEC. 13, 1965

TO FOUR SQUARE TOOL AND DIE CO., INC.:

WE AGAIN REFER TO THE LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 28, 1965, FROM WASHINGTON INFORMATION AND INVESTIGATIVE COUNCIL, WHICH PROTESTS THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER ARMY INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. AMC (A) 28-017-65 434 TO ANY BIDDER OTHER THAN YOUR COMPANY.

THE INVITATION, A 100-PERCENT SMALL BUSINESS SET-ASIDE ISSUED MAY 13, 1965, SOLICITED PRICES ON A QUANTITY OF 45,000 EACH, PLATE, RETAINER, WITH BIDS TO BE OPENED AT 2 P.M., FRIDAY, JUNE 11, 1965, IN THE BID OPENING ROOM, BUILDING NO. 10, PICATINNY ARSENAL, DOVER, NEW JERSEY. AT THE TIME SET, THE 12 BIDS RECEIVED WERE OPENED AND IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDDER WAS GENERAL PRODUCTS MANUFACTURING CO., WITH A UNIT PRICE OF $0.172 AND A TOTAL CONTRACT PRICE OF $7,740. YOUR BID, WHICH WAS LOWER THAN GENERAL PRODUCTS, WAS MAILED REGISTERED, AIRMAIL, SPECIAL DELIVERY, AT THE BRAZIL, INDIANA, POST OFFICE AT APPROXIMATELY 9 .M., JUNE 10, 1965, ARRIVED AT THE PICATINNY ARSENAL CENTRAL MAILROOM AT 7:15 A.M., SATURDAY, JUNE 12, 1965, AND WAS NOT RECEIVED IN THE PROCUREMENT AND PRODUCTION DIRECTORATE, BUILDING NO. 10, UNTIL AROUND 12:30 P.M. OR 1:30 P.M., MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1965. CONSEQUENTLY, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED YOU THAT YOUR BID, HAVING BEEN RECEIVED LATE, WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED. AWARD WAS NOT MADE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 15, 1965, IN ORDER TO ALLOW YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO FURNISH ADDITIONAL PROOF THAT THE BID HAD BEEN MAILED IN SUFFICIENT TIME TO ARRIVE AT THE BID OPENING ROOM PRIOR TO THE TIME SET FOR OPENING.

YOU HAVE SUBMITTED A STATEMENT FROM THE ASSISTANT POSTMASTER AT BRAZIL, INDIANA, THAT THE BID WAS DISPATCHED FROM THAT OFFICE ON THE EVENING OF JUNE 10, 1965, AND SHOULD HAVE REACHED DOVER, NEW JERSEY, THE NEXT MORNING IF ALL CONNECTIONS OF AIR FLIGHTS WERE MADE ON SCHEDULE. THE FILE ALSO CONTAINS A STATEMENT FROM THE POSTMASTER AT DOVER, NEW JERSEY, THAT, ALTHOUGH THE BID ARRIVED THERE ON JUNE 12, 1965, UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS IT SHOULD HAVE ARRIVED AT DOVER AT 11:30 A.M., JUNE 11, 1965, AND IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DELIVERED TO THE PICATINNY ARSENAL BEFORE 2 P.M., JUNE 11, 1065. THUS, IT APPEARS THAT, UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES, THE BID FROM FOUR SQUARE SHOULD HAVE ARRIVED AT THE ARSENAL'S CENTRAL MAILROOM PRIOR TO 2 P.M., JUNE 11, 1965, RATHER THAN 7:15 A.M., THE NEXT DAY. THE FILE ALSO CONTAINS A STATEMENT BY THE CHIEF OF THE RECORDS AND MAIL SERVICES BRANCH AT PICATINNY ARSENAL THAT MAIL ARRIVING AT THE DOVER POST OFFICE IS PICKED UP BY AN ARSENAL DRIVER AT ABOUT 1:05 P.M. AND ARRIVES AT THE ARSENAL'S CENTRAL MAILROOM, 5 1/2 MILES AWAY, BY :20 P.M. FURTHER, THERE IS NO PROCEDURE FOR SPECIAL HANDLING OF REGISTERED MAIL ARRIVING AT THE DOVER POST OFFICE AND ADDRESSED TO SEGMENTS OF PICATINNY ARSENAL. AFTER THE MAIL IS RECEIVED AT THE ARSENAL'S MAILROOM, IT IS SORTED, PROCESSED AND EACH PIECE OF REGISTERED MAIL IS LOGGED IN BEFORE DELIVERY. THE CENTRAL MAILROOM AND THE BID OPENING ROOM ARE ALMOST A MILE APART. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS THE OPINION OF THE CHIEF OF THE RECORDS AND MAIL SERVICES BRANCH, THAT UNDER OPTIMUM DELIVERY CONDITIONS, THE BID WOULD NOT HAVE REACHED THE BID OPENING ROOM UNTIL ABOUT 2:45 P.M., JUNE 11, 1965, THAT IS, 45 MINUTES AFTER THE TIME SET FOR BID OPENING. THEREFORE, EVEN WITHOUT THE DELAY THAT APPARENTLY EXISTED IN THE MAILS, THE FOUR SQUARE BID WOULD NOT HAVE ARRIVED IN TIME TO BE OPENED AT 2 P.M., JUNE 11, 1965.

ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION 2-303.2 PROVIDES:

"CONSIDERATION FOR AWARD. A LATE BID SHALL BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD ONLY IF:

"/III) IF SUBMITTED BY MAIL (OR BY TELEGRAM WHERE AUTHORIZED), IT WAS RECEIVED AT THE GOVERNMENT INSTALLATION IN SUFFICIENT TIME TO BE RECEIVED AT THE OFFICE DESIGNATED IN THE INVITATION BY THE TIME SET FOR OPENING, AND EXCEPT FOR DELAY DUE TO MISHANDLING ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT AT THE INSTALLATION, WOULD HAVE BEEN RECEIVED ON TIME AT THE OFFICE DESIGNATED. * * "

IN THIS CASE THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN AN UNACCOUNTED-FOR DELAY, BOTH ON THE PART OF CIVILIAN AND MILITARY POSTAL OFFICIALS; HOWEVER, EVEN IF THIS DELAY HAD BEEN ELIMINATED, UNDER THE BEST CONDITIONS NORMALLY AVAILABLE, THE FOUR SQUARE BID WOULD HAVE ARRIVED APPROXIMATELY 45 MINUTES LATE, BECAUSE OF FOUR SQUARE'S FAILURE TO ALLOW FOR SUFFICIENT TIME FOR TRANSMISSION.

IN YOUR LETTER YOU ALSO STATE THAT:

"IN ANY EVENT WE BELIEVE THAT A DEFINITE DECISION SHOULD BE CLEARLY RENDERED AS TO WHICH OF THE POST OFFICES EITHER AT THE SENDING OR RECEIVING END SHALL BE ACCEPTED AS BONA FIDE INFORMATION FOR CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DECISION AND UNLESS THIS IS DEFINITELY ESTABLISHED THERE COULD BE ENDLESS AMOUNT OF CONFUSION AND CONTRADICTION ON THE PART OF LOCAL POST OFFICE OFFICIALS.'

WE FIND NO BASIS FOR SUCH A STATEMENT. BOTH THE POSTAL OFFICIALS AT BRAZIL, INDIANA, AND DOVER, NEW JERSEY, AGREED THAT THE BID SHOULD ARRIVE AT DOVER ON THE MORNING OF JUNE 11, 1965. SIMILARLY, THE POSTAL AUTHORITIES AT DOVER AND THE PICATINNY ARSENAL AGREED THAT THE BID SHOULD HAVE ARRIVED AT THE ARSENAL PRIOR TO 2 P.M., JUNE 11, 1965. THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION OR INCONSISTENCY IN ANY OF THEIR STATEMENTS. THE PERIOD OF TIME FOR HANDLING AT THE ARSENAL'S CENTRAL MAILROOM WAS A FACT NOT KNOWN TO EITHER OF THE TWO POSTAL OFFICIALS. FURTHER, THE TIME REQUIRED FOR DELIVERY TO THE BID OPENING ROOM DID NOT RESULT FROM MISHANDLING ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT BUT WAS DUE TO THE NORMAL PROCEDURE WITH RESPECT TO HANDLING THE MAIL.