B-161844, DEC. 8, 1967

B-161844: Dec 8, 1967

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THAT PROCUREMENT OF REPRODUCTION SERVICES UNDER MULTI-SERVICE CONTRACT WHICH WAS EXTENDED FOR SEVERAL FISCAL YEARS WAS NOT SUBJECT TO QUESTION. SOLE-SOURCE NEGOTIATED CONTRACT FOR REPRODUCTION SERVICES FOR MARINE CORPS AND CIVILIAN AGENCIES WHICH WAS EXTENDED FOR FISCAL YEARS 1965. 1967 BECAUSE ADVERTISING WOULD NOT RESULT IN ANY OTHER BIDS IS NOT SUBJECT TO QUESTION. SINCE NONE OF THE SUPPLIES OR SERVICES IN THE INSTANT CONTRACT HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED TO GSA THE COMBINING OF MULTI SERVICE REQUIREMENTS INTO A SINGLE CONTRACT IS NOT RESTRICTED BY 5-701 (B) OF ASPR. IN THIS CASE WHILE THE PRIOR SUPPLIER MAY HAVE CERTAIN ADVANTAGES OVER POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS IN THE NEXT PROCUREMENT. THIS IS A CIRCUMSTANCE OF THE MARKET PLACE AND DOES NOT AMOUNT TO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST OTHER SUPPLIERS.

B-161844, DEC. 8, 1967

BIDS - OPTIONS DECISION DENYING PROTEST OF BLOCKER REPROGRAPHICS, INC., THAT PROCUREMENT OF REPRODUCTION SERVICES UNDER MULTI-SERVICE CONTRACT WHICH WAS EXTENDED FOR SEVERAL FISCAL YEARS WAS NOT SUBJECT TO QUESTION. SOLE-SOURCE NEGOTIATED CONTRACT FOR REPRODUCTION SERVICES FOR MARINE CORPS AND CIVILIAN AGENCIES WHICH WAS EXTENDED FOR FISCAL YEARS 1965, 1966, AND 1967 BECAUSE ADVERTISING WOULD NOT RESULT IN ANY OTHER BIDS IS NOT SUBJECT TO QUESTION. SINCE NONE OF THE SUPPLIES OR SERVICES IN THE INSTANT CONTRACT HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED TO GSA THE COMBINING OF MULTI SERVICE REQUIREMENTS INTO A SINGLE CONTRACT IS NOT RESTRICTED BY 5-701 (B) OF ASPR. IN THIS CASE WHILE THE PRIOR SUPPLIER MAY HAVE CERTAIN ADVANTAGES OVER POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS IN THE NEXT PROCUREMENT, THIS IS A CIRCUMSTANCE OF THE MARKET PLACE AND DOES NOT AMOUNT TO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST OTHER SUPPLIERS. MARINE CORPS REPORTS THAT FORMAL ADVERTISING WILL BE USED IN THE FUTURE WITHOUT THE RENEWAL OPTION CLAUSE.

TO BLOCHER REPROGRAPHICS, INCORPORATED:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR PROTEST CONCERNING INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. M00027-67-B-0286 ISSUED BY HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, WASHINGTON, D.C., COVERING VARIOUS MATERIALS AND REPRODUCTION SERVICES FOR THE VARIOUS MARINE CORPS ACTIVITIES AS WELL AS CERTAIN ACTIVITIES OF OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES SET FORTH THEREIN. THE ACTIVITIES INVOLVED ARE BOTH DEFENSE AND CIVILIAN AGENCIES AND ARE LOCATED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.

YOU PROTEST ANY AWARD UNDER THE INVITATION PRIMARILY ON THE BASIS THAT (1) THE MARINE CORPS EXCEEDED THE INTENT AND PURPOSE OF PARAGRAPH 5-701 (B) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION BY INCLUDING IN THIS INVITATION THE REQUIREMENTS OF OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES, SINCE THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AS THE SOURCE AGENCY FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF JOINT SERVICES; (2) THE INVITATION DISCRIMINATES IN FAVOR OF COOPER-TRENT DIVISION OF KEUFFEL AND ESSER COMPANY IN THAT FOR MANY YEARS THEY HAVE HAD A NEGOTIATED CONTRACT WITH THE MARINE CORPS FOR THE SAME WORK AND THE SUBJECT IFB IS ALMOST IDENTICAL TO THAT CONTRACT; (3) THE INVITATION DID NOT PROVIDE ADEQUATE TIME FOR FIRMS OTHER THAN COOPER TRENT TO ASSEMBLE THE NECESSARY "PARTICIPATING AGENTS" TO PERFORM THE WORK IN THE VARIOUS AREAS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY; AND (4) THAT MOST OF THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED WOULD ORIGINATE FROM THE ACTIVITIES LOCATED IN THE THREE-STATE AREA SURROUNDING THE WASHINGTON, D.C. METROPOLITAN AREA AND, THEREFORE, THE INVITATION SHOULD HAVE PROVIDED A BASIS FOR MULTIPLE AWARDS, COVERING THE ACTIVITIES LOCATED IN THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA SEPARATELY FROM THOSE LOCATED OUTSIDE OF SUCH AREA.

SECTION 5-701 (B) OF ASPR, CITED BY YOU, PRESCRIBES THE POLICY IN REGARD TO THE PLACING OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ORDERS WITH OTHER AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT AND ESSENTIALLY STATES THE POLICY OF OBTAINING SUPPLIES AND SERVICES FROM COMMERCIAL SOURCES AS OPPOSED TO GOVERNMENT SOURCES. SAID SECTION DOES NOT RESTRICT THE COMBINING OF MULTI-SERVICE REQUIREMENTS INTO A SINGLE CONTRACT ACTION, NOR DOES IT IMPLY ANY OBJECTIONS TO COMBINING SIMILAR CIVILIAN AGENCY REQUIREMENTS WITH THOSE OF THE MILITARY SERVICES. IN FACT, SPECIFIC COVERAGE OF CONSOLIDATION OF REQUIREMENTS UNDER ASPR 5- 1103.6 PROVIDES THAT: "THE PRIMARY OBJECT OF COORDINATED PROCUREMENT IS TO OBTAIN FOR THE GOVERNMENT MAXIMUM ECONOMY THROUGH THE CONSOLIDATION OF REQUIREMENTS AND THE ELIMINATION THEREBY OF COMPETITIVE PURCHASES AMONG THE DEPARTMENTS. THE PROCURING DEPARTMENT SHALL WHENEVER POSSIBLE, CONSOLIDATE IN ONE CONTRACT ITS OWN REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SAME OR SIMILAR ITEMS PLUS ALL REQUIREMENTS RECEIVED VIA MIPRS OR OTHER PURCHASE REQUESTS.' ASPR 5-1201 COVERS COMMODITY PURCHASE ASSIGNMENTS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND THOSE MADE TO THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. NONE OF THE SUPPLIES OR SERVICES COVERED BY THE MARINE CORPS CONTRACT INVOLVED HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED TO GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION FOR PURCHASE ACTION.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE SERVICES INVOLVED WERE FORMALLY ADVERTISED FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1961 AND AGAIN FOR 1962. IN EACH CASE COOPER-TRENT WAS THE ONLY BIDDER. IN VIEW THEREOF A SOLE-SOURCE CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED WITH COOPER-TRENT IN JUNE 1963, COVERING REQUIREMENTS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1964, AND, UNDER THE TERMS OF THAT CONTRACT, THE PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE WAS EXTENDED FOR FISCAL YEARS 1965, 1966 AND 1967 REQUIREMENTS. HOWEVER, PRIOR TO EACH EXTENSION DISCUSSIONS WERE HELD WITH PROSPECTIVE SUPPLIERS AND THE CONCLUSION WAS REACHED THAT READVERTISING WOULD SERVE NO USEFUL PURPOSE AS THERE WAS NO ASSURANCE OF OBTAINING OTHER BIDS. IT IS FURTHER REPORTED THAT EARLY IN THE CALENDAR YEAR 1966, YOU VISITED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE AND STATED THAT YOUR FIRM WOULD BID IF THE MARINE CORPS WOULD ADVERTISE THESE REQUIREMENTS; YOU WERE ADVISED TO PROCEED WITH MAKING THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS; THAT AN INVITATION FOR BIDS WOULD BE ISSUED FOR FISCAL YEAR 1967 REQUIREMENTS SOMETIME IN MAY 1966; THAT SHORTLY THEREAFTER YOU ADVISED THAT YOU HAD RECONSIDERED AND DID NOT INTEND TO BID; AND THAT AS A RESULT OF THIS DECISION BY YOU, AS WELL AS A RESULT OF DISCUSSIONS WITH OTHER POSSIBLE SOURCES, NO INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS ISSUED FOR FISCAL YEAR 1967 REQUIREMENTS.

TWO BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION FOR BIDS HERE INVOLVED COVERING FISCAL YEAR 1968 REQUIREMENTS, ONE FROM THE WURGLER COMPANY AND THE OTHER FROM COOPER-TRENT. IT IS REPORTED THAT ANOTHER LOCALLY-BASED FIRM ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS THAT THEY HAD ADEQUATE NATION-WIDE FACILITIES AND WOULD BID. HOWEVER, THAT FIRM, ALTHOUGH SOLICITED, DID NOT BID. IN VIEW OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE CONCERNING THE PROCUREMENT AND THE NECESSITY TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS WITH "PARTICIPATING AGENTS" IN ORDER TO PERFORM ALL THE REQUIRED SERVICES IF YOU INTENDED TO BID, WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOUR CONTENTION THAT ADEQUATE TIME WAS NOT AFFORDED TO PREPARE A BID.

IT IS UNDOUBTEDLY TRUE THAT COOPER-TRENT HAD CERTAIN ADVANTAGES OVER OTHER POTENTIAL BIDDERS, SINCE THAT FIRM HELD SIMILAR PRIOR CONTRACTS. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT APPARENT HOW THE INVITATION FOR BIDS DISCRIMINATES IN FAVOR OF COOPER-TRENT. A PRIOR SUPPLIER GENERALLY HAS CERTAIN ADVANTAGES OVER OTHER POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS. HOWEVER, THIS IS A CIRCUMSTANCE OF THE MARKET PLACE AND DOES NOT AMOUNT TO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST OTHER SUPPLIERS.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE MARINE CORPS SHOULD SPLIT THE REQUIREMENTS AND AWARD TWO SEPARATE CONTRACTS, I.E., ONE FOR THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN REGION AND ONE FOR ALL OTHER REGIONS, OR MAKE MULTIPLE AWARDS, IT IS REPORTED THAT NO BIDS COULD BE OBTAINED FOR THE SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED TO THE "OTHER REGIONS" UNLESS THE REQUIREMENTS ARE COMBINED. FURTHERMORE, IN ADDITION TO THE ADVANTAGE OF HAVING THESE CONTRACTUAL SERVICES AVAILABLE TO THE OUTLYING AGENCIES, THE GOVERNMENT RECEIVES THE BENEFIT OF MUCH LOWER PRICES BY COMBINING THE REQUIREMENTS AND BY HAVING A FIRM CONTRACT WITH A CONTRACTOR WHO HAS SOME ASSURANCE THAT HE WILL BE CALLED UPON TO PERFORM SUCH SERVICES AS ARE REQUIRED BY THE PARTICULAR AGENCIES DURING THE YEAR.

THE MARINE CORPS REPORTS THAT THEY INTEND TO CONTINUE TO OBTAIN FUTURE FISCAL YEAR REQUIREMENTS FOR THESE SERVICES BY UTILIZING FORMAL ADVERTISING PROCEDURES, THAT THE OPTION TO RENEW WILL NOT BE INCLUDED IN FUTURE CONTRACTS, AND THAT THE OPTION WILL BE DELETED BY AMENDMENT FROM THE CURRENT CONTRACT.

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS WE FIND NO BASIS TO QUESTION THE ISSUANCE OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS HERE INVOLVED OR THE AWARD MADE THEREUNDER, AND THEREFORE, YOUR PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.