B-159376, AUG. 2, 1966

B-159376: Aug 2, 1966

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INC.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 6. CONTRACT N156-46811 WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED TO VAN ZELM ASSOCIATES. BECAUSE A 5-PERCENT DISCOUNT FOR PROMPT PAYMENT WAS OFFERED BY THIS COMPANY WHICH MADE IT THE LOW OFFEROR. CONTAINED AN ERASURE IN THE DISCOUNT CLAUSE OF THE RFP WHICH WAS NOT EXPLAINED OR NOTED OVER THE SIGNATURE OF THE OFFEROR. YOUR PROTEST IS BASED ON THE FAILURE OF VAN ZELM ASSOCIATES. IT WAS THE DECISION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE ERASURE IN THE DISCOUNT SECTION OF THE PROPOSAL WAS OF A TRIVIAL NATURE AND CONSTITUTED A MINOR INFORMALITY. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE MATTER WAS REVIEWED BY AND CONCURRED IN BY COUNSEL FOR THE NAVAL AIR ENGINEERING CENTER PRIOR TO ACCEPTANCE OF THE PROPOSAL.

B-159376, AUG. 2, 1966

TO PRECISIONEERING, INC.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 6, 1966, CHALLENGING THE LEGALITY OF A CONTRACT AWARDED TO VAN ZELM ASSOCIATES, INC., UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) 156/20840/66Q ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AIR ENGINEERING CENTER, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF 300 STRAP ASSEMBLIES NAEL PART NO. 504821-1. CONTRACT N156-46811 WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED TO VAN ZELM ASSOCIATES, INC., BECAUSE A 5-PERCENT DISCOUNT FOR PROMPT PAYMENT WAS OFFERED BY THIS COMPANY WHICH MADE IT THE LOW OFFEROR.

YOU CONTEND THAT THE PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY VAN ZELM ASSOCIATES, INC., CONTAINED AN ERASURE IN THE DISCOUNT CLAUSE OF THE RFP WHICH WAS NOT EXPLAINED OR NOTED OVER THE SIGNATURE OF THE OFFEROR. YOU MAKE REFERENCE TO A PROVISION UNDER TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS WHICH STATES IN PERTINENT PART:

"1. PREPARATION OF PROPOSALS--- (A) * * * ERASURES OR OTHER CHANGES IN PROPOSALS MUST BE EXPLAINED OR OTHERWISE NOTED OVER SIGNATURE OF OFFEROR.

YOUR PROTEST IS BASED ON THE FAILURE OF VAN ZELM ASSOCIATES, INC., TO COMPLY WITH THIS REQUIREMENT. THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT STATES THAT THE PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY VAN ZELM ASSOCIATES, INC., DID CONTAIN AN ERASURE IN THE DISCOUNT PORTION OF THE PROPOSAL AND CONSISTED OF THE DELETION OF A COLON. IT WAS THE DECISION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE ERASURE IN THE DISCOUNT SECTION OF THE PROPOSAL WAS OF A TRIVIAL NATURE AND CONSTITUTED A MINOR INFORMALITY. IN ADDITION, IT IS REPORTED THAT THE MATTER WAS REVIEWED BY AND CONCURRED IN BY COUNSEL FOR THE NAVAL AIR ENGINEERING CENTER PRIOR TO ACCEPTANCE OF THE PROPOSAL.

NOTWITHSTANDING THE USE OF MANDATORY LANGUAGE IN THE PROVISION IN QUESTION, IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT THE FAILURE OF THE PERSON SIGNING THE BID TO INITIAL AN ERASURE OR OTHER CHANGES IN A BID MAY BE WAIVED WHERE IT DOES NOT AFFECT THE PRICE, QUANTITY, OR QUALITY OF THE ARTICLES OFFERED TO THE PREJUDICE OF OTHER BIDDERS. 37 COMP. GEN. 763, 765; 30 COMP. GEN. 179. THIS RULE WOULD ALSO APPLY TO REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS WHERE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CONTAIN SIMILAR LANGUAGE WITH RESPECT TO ERASURES.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE ERASURE CONSISTED OF THE DELETION OF A COLON AND HAD NO BEARING WHATSOEVER ON THE DISCOUNT TERMS OFFERED, WE FIND NO LEGAL BASIS FOR OBJECTING TO THE WAIVER OF THIS MINOR INFORMALITY.