B-159300, AUG. 23, 1966

B-159300: Aug 23, 1966

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THE SUBJECT INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS FOR CUSTODIAL SERVICES AND LISTED FIVE ITEMS. EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE LOW BIDDER ON THOSE ITEMS. ON THE BASIS THAT YOU WERE NON RESPONSIBLE. AWARD WAS MADE TO ANOTHER FIRM AND THE RESULTING CONTRACT HAS SINCE BEEN SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED. YOU MAINTAIN THAT AWARD ON ITEMS 3 AND 4 SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE TO YOUR FIRM AS LOW BIDDER. THE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE ADVISES THAT THE DETERMINATION THAT YOUR FIRM WAS NON RESPONSIBLE WAS MADE PRIMARILY ON THE BASIS OF UNSATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE BY A FIRM OPERATED BY YOU ON A PRIOR CONTRACT FOR CUSTODIAL SERVICES AT HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE. WAS UNSATISFACTORY. BECAUSE A COMPLAINT FOR NONPAYMENT OF WAGES WAS MADE TO THE HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS DURING THE COURSE OF YOUR HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE CONTRACT.

B-159300, AUG. 23, 1966

TO BARRY WEST SERVICES:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 28, 1965 (1966), RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE ON MAY 31, 1966, PROTESTS THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 64- 605-65-137, ISSUED BY THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE, HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, HAWAII.

THE SUBJECT INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS FOR CUSTODIAL SERVICES AND LISTED FIVE ITEMS. YOU BID ON ALL FIVE ITEMS BUT LATER REQUESTED THAT YOUR BID ON ITEMS 1, 2 AND 5 BE WITHDRAWN BECAUSE A MISTAKE HAD BEEN MADE. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ALLOWED WITHDRAWAL OF YOUR BID ON ITEMS 1, 2 AND 5 AND REJECTED YOUR BID ON ITEMS 3 AND 4, EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE LOW BIDDER ON THOSE ITEMS, ON THE BASIS THAT YOU WERE NON RESPONSIBLE. AWARD WAS MADE TO ANOTHER FIRM AND THE RESULTING CONTRACT HAS SINCE BEEN SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED. YOU MAINTAIN THAT AWARD ON ITEMS 3 AND 4 SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE TO YOUR FIRM AS LOW BIDDER.

THE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE ADVISES THAT THE DETERMINATION THAT YOUR FIRM WAS NON RESPONSIBLE WAS MADE PRIMARILY ON THE BASIS OF UNSATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE BY A FIRM OPERATED BY YOU ON A PRIOR CONTRACT FOR CUSTODIAL SERVICES AT HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, BUT ALSO BY REASON OF YOUR PERFORMANCE ON A RECENT CONTRACT AT THE UNITED STATES NAVAL STATION, TREASURE ISLAND, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, WAS UNSATISFACTORY, BECAUSE A COMPLAINT FOR NONPAYMENT OF WAGES WAS MADE TO THE HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS DURING THE COURSE OF YOUR HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE CONTRACT, AND FINALLY BECAUSE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS ADVISED THAT YOUR BUSINESS WAS INACTIVE AT THE TIME OF THE CURRENT SOLICITATION AND AWAITING ITS FIRST CONTRACT.

THE FILE SUBMITTED WITH THE REPORT CONTAINS NUMEROUS LETTERS AND MEMOS CONCERNING COMPLAINTS ABOUT POOR SERVICE UNDER THE HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE CONTRACT, AND INSPECTIONS BY AIR FORCE PERSONNEL SHOWING A CONSISTENT FAILURE TO PERFORM CUSTODIAL FUNCTIONS REQUIRED BY THE CONTRACT EVEN AFTER DEFICIENCIES HAD BEEN BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION. IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO WRITE DIRECTLY TO YOU ON TWO OCCASIONS IN AN EFFORT TO BRING PERFORMANCE UNDER THE CONTRACT UP TO A SATISFACTORY LEVEL AND ON ONE OTHER OCCASION BECAUSE YOUR EMPLOYEES FAILED TO FOLLOW ELECTRICITY CONSERVATION PROCEDURES AFTER REPEATED REQUESTS. THE FILE ALSO CONTAINS LETTERS FROM YOU STATING THAT WORK NOT CONTEMPLATED BY THE CONTRACT WAS BEING PERFORMED WITHOUT CHARGE, THAT CERTAIN AREAS COULD NOT BE PROPERLY CARED FOR BECAUSE OF NIGHTTIME USE BY AIR FORCE PERSONNEL OR BECAUSE OF CONSTRUCTION IN THE WORK AREA, AND THAT SOME CHANGES BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE CONSTRUCTION IN THE WORK AREA REQUIRED ADDITIONAL WORK ON YOUR PART FOR WHICH YOU WERE NOT BEING COMPENSATED. THE CONCLUSION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, HOWEVER, WAS THAT THE OVERALL QUALITY OF YOUR WORK, BOTH IN THE AREAS MENTIONED BY YOU AND IN THE OTHER AREAS COVERED BY THE CONTRACT, WAS UNSATISFACTORY, AND THAT THE CHANGES CAUSED BY THE CONSTRUCTION DID NOT ENTAIL ADDITIONAL WORK SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION.

THE DETERMINATION OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF A PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTOR IS A FUNCTION IN WHICH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER NECESSARILY HAS A WIDE RANGE OF DISCRETION, AND HIS DETERMINATIONS WILL NOT BE DISTURBED BY THIS OFFICE UNLESS IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT THEY WERE ARBITRARY, CAPRICIOUS, OR WITHOUT SUBSTANTIAL BASIS IN FACT. THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT THIS WAS SO IN THE PRESENT CASE. FROM OUR REVIEW OF THE RECORD IN THIS CASE, THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN A SUBSTANTIAL BASIS FOR THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION THAT YOUR FIRM WAS NONRESPONSIBLE.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR INQUIRY AS TO WHY YOUR PREVIOUS LETTERS CONCERNING THE SUBJECT CONTRACT TO HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE WERE NOT ANSWERED, THE AIR FORCE ADVISES THAT WHILE A DECISION THAT YOUR PROTEST SHOULD BE DENIED WAS MADE BY THE PROCURING ACTIVITY AS A RESULT OF YOUR EARLIER LETTERS, YOU WERE NOT ADVISED OF THAT FACT. THE REPORT STATES THAT STEPS WILL BE TAKEN TO ASSURE THAT IN THE FUTURE COMPLAINANTS ARE NOTIFIED IN WRITING OF ANY DECISION MADE ON THEIR PROTESTS.