B-158581, AUG. 18, 1966

B-158581: Aug 18, 1966

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SHEA AND KENNEY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7. THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON DECEMBER 28. SAID REGULATORS WERE TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH A CERTAIN DESCRIPTION IDENTIFIED AS PIONEER PRODUCTS. BIDS WERE TO BE RECEIVED IN THE ISSUING OFFICE UNTIL 1:30 P.M. TWENTY-FIVE PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE SOLICITED TO SUBMIT BIDS. TWO BIDS WERE RECEIVED PRIOR TO THE TIME SET FOR BID OPENING. THOSE TWO BIDS WERE (1) PIONEER PRODUCTS. TWO LATE BIDS WERE RECEIVED ONE FROM THE VICTOR EQUIPMENT COMPANY. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED APC BY LETTER OF FEBRUARY 7 THAT ITS BID WAS NOT RECEIVED IN TIME FOR OPENING AND THAT IT WOULD BE RETURNED (IN ACCORDANCE WITH ASPR 2 303.7) AFTER AWARD WAS MADE UNDER THE IFB.

B-158581, AUG. 18, 1966

TO SULLIVAN, SHEA AND KENNEY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7, 1966, WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF YOUR CLIENT, AIR PRODUCTS AND CHEMICALS, INC. (APC), ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA, AND TO APC'S LETTER OF FEBRUARY 23, 1966, WHICH PROTESTED AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER BIDDER UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) 41-608-66-729.

THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON DECEMBER 28, 1965, BY THE SAN ANTONIO AIR MATERIEL AREA, KELLY AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS, FOR 697 COMPRESSED AIR PRESSURE REGULATORS. SAID REGULATORS WERE TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH A CERTAIN DESCRIPTION IDENTIFIED AS PIONEER PRODUCTS, INC. P/N C-9100A, LESS GAGES, OR KGM EQUIPMENT CO. P/N C-9100A LESS GAGES, OR EQUAL. BIDS WERE TO BE RECEIVED IN THE ISSUING OFFICE UNTIL 1:30 P.M., CST, JANUARY 17, 1966, THE BID OPENING DATE.

TWENTY-FIVE PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE SOLICITED TO SUBMIT BIDS, AND TWO BIDS WERE RECEIVED PRIOR TO THE TIME SET FOR BID OPENING. THOSE TWO BIDS WERE (1) PIONEER PRODUCTS, INC., BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, AT A UNIT PRICE OF $53.30, AND (2) BIG THREE INDUSTRIAL AND EQUIPMENT CO., FORT WORTH, TEXAS, AT A UNIT PRICE OF $86.00. IN ADDITION TO THE TWO MENTIONED BIDS, TWO LATE BIDS WERE RECEIVED ONE FROM THE VICTOR EQUIPMENT COMPANY, SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, ON JANUARY 18, AND THE OTHER FROM YOUR CLIENT ON FEBRUARY 5. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED APC BY LETTER OF FEBRUARY 7 THAT ITS BID WAS NOT RECEIVED IN TIME FOR OPENING AND THAT IT WOULD BE RETURNED (IN ACCORDANCE WITH ASPR 2 303.7) AFTER AWARD WAS MADE UNDER THE IFB. FEBRUARY 16, 1966, AWARD WAS MADE TO PIONEER PRODUCTS AT ITS BID PRICE OF $53.30 PER UNIT OR $37,150.10 TOTAL PRICE. APC'S BID PRICE, WE ARE ADVISED, WAS $46.74 PER UNIT, AND WOULD APPEAR TO HAVE OFFERED THE LOWEST PRICE IF IT COULD HAVE BEEN PROPERLY ACCEPTED FOR EVALUATION. YOUR CLIENT PROTESTED THAT ITS BID WAS NOT SUBMITTED IN TIME FOR THE OPENING ON JANUARY 17, BECAUSE IT HAD RECEIVED A TELEGRAM DATED JANUARY 12, 1966, ORIGINATING IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WHICH PURPORTED TO EXTEND THE BID OPENING DATE OF THE INVITATION TO FEBRUARY 7, 1966.

THE AIR FORCE REPORT SUBMITTED IN THIS MATTER STATES THAT THE PROCURING ACTIVITY DID NOT EXTEND THE BID OPENING DATE AND DID NOT SEND THE SUBJECT TELEGRAM NOR, AFTER CONSIDERABLE CHECKING DID IT KNOW THE IDENTITY OF THE SENDER. FURTHER, THE WESTERN UNION OFFICE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., REPORTED THAT IT WAS UNABLE TO IDENTIFY THE SENDER. IN ADDITION, APC ALSO REQUESTED AND RECEIVED AN INVESTIGATION BY THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI). WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT THE FBI'S INVESTIGATION HAS BEEN CLOSED AND THAT THE IDENTITY OF THE SENDER OF THE TELEGRAM COULD NOT BE DETERMINED.

FROM THE FOREGOING, WE FIND NO INDICATION, NOR HAS IT BEEN ALLEGED BY APC, THAT GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL WERE IN ANY WAY INVOLVED WITH, OR RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SENDING OF THE TELEGRAM OF JANUARY 12 TO YOUR CLIENT. WHILE IT IS REGRETTABLE THAT THE APC'S BID WAS NOT RECEIVED IN TIME BY THE PROCURING ACTIVITY TO BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE REGULATIONS, THEREBY DEPRIVING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROCURE THE REGULATORS AT THE LOWER PRICE WHICH APC HAS STATED WAS OFFERED IN ITS BID, WE PERCEIVE NO IMPROPRIETY IN THE ACTIONS OF THE PROCUREMENT OFFICIALS IN REJECTING YOUR BID NOR A PROPER BASIS UPON WHICH THE CONTRACT AWARDED TO PIONEER ..END :