B-164516, JUL. 5, 1968

B-164516: Jul 5, 1968

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WHICH WAS AWARDED BY THE FOREST SERVICE TO WILLAMINA LUMBER CO. WHICH IS IDENTIFIED AS GAULDY NO. 2 (I) SALE. WAS SET ASIDE FOR PREFERENTIAL AWARD TO SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS PURSUANT TO 36 CFR 221.8 (B) AND 13 CFR 121.3-9 (B). PROVISION WAS MADE FOR CONSIDERATION OF BIDS FROM OTHER THAN SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS IN THE EVENT NO VALID BID WAS RECEIVED FROM A SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN. THE PAPERS WHICH WERE FURNISHED TO PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS INCLUDED A COPY OF THE NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT. " CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS WHICH ARE PERTINENT TO THIS CASE: "PREFERENTIAL AWARD OF THIS SALE TO A SMALL-BUSINESS CONCERN IS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 15 OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ACT OF 1958. IF YOU ARE THE HIGH BIDDER AND YOUR REPRESENTATION IS QUESTIONED BY EITHER THE CONTRACTING OFFICER OR ANOTHER BIDDER WITHIN 5 WORKING DAYS OF BID OPENING.

B-164516, JUL. 5, 1968

TO MR. SECRETARY:

WE REFER TO LETTER DATED JUNE 3, 1968, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, REQUESTING OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPER ACTION TO BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO TIMBER SALE CONTRACT NO. 01021, WHICH WAS AWARDED BY THE FOREST SERVICE TO WILLAMINA LUMBER CO. (WILLAMINA) ON MARCH 22, 1968, UNDER COMBINED SEALED BID AND AUCTION PROCEDURES. THE SALE, WHICH IS IDENTIFIED AS GAULDY NO. 2 (I) SALE, COVERS TIMBER IN THE HEBO DISTRICT, SIUSLAW NATIONAL FOREST, AND WAS SET ASIDE FOR PREFERENTIAL AWARD TO SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS PURSUANT TO 36 CFR 221.8 (B) AND 13 CFR 121.3-9 (B).

ON FEBRUARY 15, 1968, THE FOREST SUPERVISOR, CORVALLIS, OREGON, ADVERTISED THE SALE IN A TILLAMOOK, OREGON, NEWSPAPER, IN ACCORDANCE WITH 36 CFR 221.8 (A). THE ADVERTISEMENT STIPULATED THE MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE BID PRICES FOR THE TIMBER AND STATED THAT SEALED BIDS WOULD BE RECEIVED BY THE FOREST SUPERVISOR UP TO 2:00 P.M., MARCH 21, 1968, FOLLOWED IMMEDIATELY BY ORAL BIDDING. IN ADDITION, PROVISION WAS MADE FOR CONSIDERATION OF BIDS FROM OTHER THAN SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS IN THE EVENT NO VALID BID WAS RECEIVED FROM A SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN, AND THE GOVERNMENT RESERVED THE RIGHT TO REJECT ANY AND ALL BIDS.

THE PAPERS WHICH WERE FURNISHED TO PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS INCLUDED A COPY OF THE NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT, A SALE PROSPECTUS GIVING A DESCRIPTION OF THE TIMBER AND OTHER INFORMATION PERTINENT TO PREPARATION OF BIDS, A BID FORM, AND A NOTICE TO BIDDERS ON SET-ASIDE SALES. THE NOTICE, WHICH INCLUDED A FORM ENTITLED "REPRESENTATION AS TO SMALL BUSINESS STATUS," CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS WHICH ARE PERTINENT TO THIS CASE: "PREFERENTIAL AWARD OF THIS SALE TO A SMALL-BUSINESS CONCERN IS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 15 OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ACT OF 1958. ANY BIDDER WHO DESIRES SUCH PREFERENTIAL CONSIDERATION MUST CERTIFY TO HIS STATUS BY SIGNING THE REPRESENTATION AS TO SMALL-BUSINESS STATUS' AT THE END OF THIS PAGE. FOREST PRODUCTS INDUSTRY UNDER ITEM (1) REFERS TO AN INDUSTRY WHICH UTILIZES THE WOOD OBTAINED FROM TREES THAT SERVE AS THE PRINCIPAL SOURCE OF RAW MATERIAL. IF YOU ARE THE HIGH BIDDER AND YOUR REPRESENTATION IS QUESTIONED BY EITHER THE CONTRACTING OFFICER OR ANOTHER BIDDER WITHIN 5 WORKING DAYS OF BID OPENING, AWARD OF THIS SALE MAY BE DEFERRED PENDING CONSIDERATION BY THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION. CONCERNS NOT CERTIFYING THEMSELVES AS A SMALL BUSINESS AND SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS DETERMINED BY THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION TO BE INELIGIBLE FOR PREFERENTIAL AWARD OF TIMBER SALES WILL NOT BE QUALIFIED FOR SALE AWARD OR FURTHER PARTICIPATION IN BIDDING IF AN ACCEPTABLE SEALED BID IS RECEIVED FROM A QUALIFIED CONCERN SO CERTIFYING ITSELF.

* * * * * * * "IF THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THIS SALE PROVIDES FOR ORAL AUCTION BIDDING, AWARD WILL BE CONDITIONED ON THE BIDDING RECORD. ALL QUALIFIED PARTICIPANTS WILL BE OFFERED AN OPPORTUNITY TO RECORD AN ORAL BID BEFORE A NEW BID WILL BE ACCEPTED FROM A PREVIOUS BIDDER. ALL BIDS RECEIVED FROM ANY CONCERN WHICH IS LATER DISQUALIFIED AS TO SMALL BUSINESS STATUS BY THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION WILL BE STRICKEN FROM THE RECORD. IN SUCH A CASE, AWARD WILL BE MADE TO THE QUALIFIED SMALL- BUSINESS CONCERN WHICH SUBMITTED THE HIGHEST BID, AT ITS FIRST BID WHICH EXCEEDED OTHER BIDS FROM QUALIFIED SMALL-BUSINESS CONCERNS.'

THE INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS, WHICH WERE SET FORTH IN THE BID FORM, READ, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS: "6. ORAL AUCTION BIDDING. IF THE ADVERTISEMENT PROVIDES FOR ORAL AND SEALED BIDS, EACH BIDDER TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ORAL AUCTION MUST SUBMIT A SEALED BID IN ACCORDANCE TO THE PRECEDING INSTRUCTIONS. ALL PARTIES WHO SUBMIT A SATISFACTORY SEALED BID WILL BE PERMITTED TO CONTINUE BIDDING ORALLY IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING OPENING AND POSTING OF THE SEALED BIDS. THE HIGH BIDDER MUST CONFIRM HIS BID IN WRITING IMMEDIATELY UPON BEING DECLARED THE HIGH BIDDER. "7. SET- ASIDE SALES. IF THE ADVERTISEMENT OR PROSPECTUS OF SALE STATES THAT SMALL -BUSINESS CONCERNS WILL RECEIVE PREFERENTIAL CONSIDERATION IN AWARD OF THIS SALE, BIDDERS MUST QUALIFY FOR PREFERENTIAL CONSIDERATION BY COMPLETING AND SIGNING THE ATTACHMENT TO THIS BID FORM -REPRESENTATION AS TO SMALL BUSINESS STATUS.- SMALL BUSINESSES WHICH HAVE BEEN DETERMINED BY SBA TO BE INELIGIBLE FOR PREFERENTIAL AWARD OF SET-ASIDE SALES CANNOT SO QUALIFY. SMALL BUSINESSES AWARDED SET-ASIDE SALES WILL ALSO BE REQUIRED TO EXECUTE SBA FORM 723, SMALL BUSINESS CERTIFICATION REQUIRED ON ALL PREFERENTIAL SALES OF SET-ASIDE TIMBER, AT TIME TIMBER SALE CONTRACT IS EXECUTED.

* * * * * * * "9. AWARD OF CONTRACT. (A) AWARD OF CONTRACT WILL BE MADE TO THAT RESPONSIBLE BIDDER WHOSE BID, CONFORMING TO THE INVITATION FOR BIDS, IS MOST ADVANTAGEOUS ON THE BASIS OF THE TOTAL RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. (B) THE GOVERNMENT MAY, WHEN IN ITS INTEREST, REJECT ANY OR ALL BIDS OR WAIVE ANY INFORMALITY IN BIDS RECEIVED. (C) A WRITTEN AWARD MAILED (OR OTHERWISE FURNISHED) TO THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER SHALL BE DEEMED TO RESULT IN A BINDING CONTRACT WITHOUT FURTHER ACTION BY EITHER PARTY. (D) IF TIMBER IS ADVERTISED AS SET-ASIDE FOR COMPETITIVE BIDDING BY SMALL BUSINESSES, AWARD WILL BE MADE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER WHO QUALIFIES AS A SMALL BUSINESS AND WHO HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED BY THE SBA TO BE INELIGIBLE FOR PREFERENTIAL AWARD OF SET-ASIDE SALES.'

EIGHT SEALED BIDS, EACH OF WHICH INCLUDED A SIGNED "REPRESENTATION AS TO SMALL BUSINESS ATUS," WERE RECEIVED BY THE FOREST SUPERVISOR AND WERE OPENED AND POSTED AT 2:00 P.M., MARCH 21, AS SCHEDULED. DIAMOND LUMBER COMPANY (DIAMOND) WAS HIGHEST WITH A BID OF $217,665; WILLAMINA WAS SECOND HIGH WITH A BID OF $201,765; AND EACH OF THE REMAINING SIX BIDDERS, AMONG WHOM WERE COLUMBIA SOUND, INC. (COLUMBIA) AND SHERIDAN PRESSURE TREATED LUMBER COMPANY (SHERIDAN), SUBMITTED BIDS IN THE AMOUNT OF $199,084, THE ADVERTISED TOTAL VALUE OF THE TIMBER.

THE ORAL BIDDING COMMENCED WITH A BID OF $219,510 BY COLUMBIA, WHICH WAS FOLLOWED BY A BID OF $221,365 BY WILLAMINA. SINCE NO ONE OF THE OTHER QUALIFIED BIDDERS OFFERED A BID AT THIS POINT, COLUMBIA WAS PERMITTED TO RESUME BIDDING. COLUMBIA THEN BID $226,510, WHICH WAS FOLLOWED BY A BID OF $228,365 FROM WILLAMINA, A BID OF $237,265 FROM DIAMOND, AND A BID OF $240,365 FROM SHERIDAN. AT THIS POINT, COLUMBIA ENTERED A BID OF $244,265, AND WILLAMINA FOLLOWED WITH A BID OF $249,565. THEREAFTER THE BIDDING ALTERNATED BETWEEN COLUMBIA AND WILLAMINA UNTIL WILLAMINA WAS DECLARED THE APPARENT HIGH BIDDER WITH A FINAL BID OF $382,065. WILLAMINA CONFIRMED ITS HIGH BID IN WRITING AT THE CLOSE OF THE AUCTION, AND BY LETTER DATED MARCH 22, WILLAMINA WAS NOTIFIED BY THE FOREST SUPERVISOR OF THE ACCEPTANCE OF ITS BID AND WAS REQUESTED TO EXECUTE THE REQUIRED PAPERS RELATING TO THE CONTRACT AS PROVIDED IN THE BID FORM.

IN A TELEGRAM DATED MARCH 28, EXACTLY FIVE WORKDAYS AFTER THE ISSUANCE OF THE AWARD LETTER, WILLAMINA PROTESTED TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AGAINST THE SMALL BUSINESS STATUS OF COLUMBIA AND REQUESTED THAT A STATUS DETERMINATION BE MADE. ALTHOUGH THE TELEGRAM MADE REFERENCE TO A VERBAL QUESTION PREVIOUSLY RAISED BY WILLAMINA CONCERNING THE SAME MATTER, IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT THE FOREST SUPERVISOR HAS BEEN UNABLE TO VERIFY THAT ANY SUCH PROTEST WAS MADE BY WILLAMINA. HOWEVER, THE FOREST SUPERVISOR PROMPTLY REFERRED THE TELEGRAPHIC PROTEST TO THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA) IN PORTLAND, OREGON, BY LETTER OF MARCH 28 WITH THE REQUEST THAT A DETERMINATION BE MADE REGARDING COLUMBIA'S STATUS, AND EXTENDED THE PERIOD FOR EXECUTION OF THE CONTRACT BY WILLAMINA FOR 15 DAYS.

ON APRIL 26, THE SBA REGIONAL DIRECTOR AT PORTLAND DETERMINED THAT COLUMBIA WAS NOT SMALL BUSINESS FOR THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT SALES OF TIMBER AND SO NOTIFIED THE FOREST SUPERVISOR. A LETTER DATED MAY 28, FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR, SBA, TO THE DEPUTY CHIEF, FOREST SERVICE, STATES THAT SUCH DETERMINATION HAS SINCE BECOME FINAL UNDER 13 CFR 121.3-4 IN THE ABSENCE OF AN APPEAL BY COLUMBIA AS PROVIDED IN 13 CFR 121.3-6.

IN A LETTER DATED MAY 1 TO THE FOREST SUPERVISOR, WILLAMINA REFERRED TO THE SBA DETERMINATION REGARDING COLUMBIA'S SIZE AND QUOTED FROM THE FOREST SERVICE HANDBOOK TWO SENTENCES REGARDING BID ACCEPTANCE IN THE EVENT OF THE DISQUALIFICATION OF A BIDDER AS TO SMALL BUSINESS STATUS, THE WORDING OF WHICH IS IDENTICAL TO THE WORDING OF THE LAST TWO SENTENCES OF THE PROVISIONS QUOTED ABOVE FROM THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS ON SET-ASIDE SALES. ACCORDINGLY, WILLAMINA REQUESTED A CONTRACT IN ACCORD WITH SUCH PROVISIONS AND A 15-DAY EXTENSION OF TIME FOR EXECUTION OF THE SALE CONTRACT AND RELATED PAPERS.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S COMMENTS CONCERNING THE EFFECT OF THE LANGUAGE IN QUESTION ARE AS FOLLOWS: "THE LANGUAGE OF THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS ON SET-ASIDE SALES QUOTED ABOVE SEEMINGLY DIRECTS, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DISCUSSED ABOVE THAT ALL BIDS ENTERED BY COLUMBIA SOUND, INC. BE STRICKEN FROM THE RECORD AND THAT AWARD BE MADE TO THE QUALIFIED SMALL-BUSINESS CONCERN AT ITS FIRST BID WHICH EXCEEDS OTHER BIDS FROM QUALIFIED SMALL-BUSINESS CONCERNS. ACCORDINGLY, IT APPEARS THAT HAD AWARD BEEN DELAYED UNTIL APRIL 26 OR LATER, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE TO WILLAMINA LUMBER COMPANY AT ITS BID OF $249,565 OR $132,500 LESS THAN THAT COMPANY'S HIGH ORAL BID OF $382,065. THE FIVE DAY PERIOD MENTIONED IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THIS NOTICE TO BIDDERS APPLIES ONLY TO PROTESTS ON THE SIZE CLASS OF THE HIGHEST BIDDER. CONSEQUENTLY THERE WAS NO REASON TO DELAY AWARD TO WILLAMINA LUMBER COMPANY.'

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY POINTS OUT THAT THE AWARD TO WILLAMINA AT ITS CONFIRMED BID PRICE OF $382,065 WAS EFFECTED PRIOR TO THE RECEIPT OF WILLAMINA'S PROTEST AGAINST COLUMBIA'S SMALL BUSINESS STATUS. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SUBMITS THE QUESTION WHETHER IT IS NOW MANDATORY TO REDUCE THE AWARD PRICE TO $249,565, THE AMOUNT OF THE FIRST BID SUBMITTED BY WILLAMINA AFTER THE HIGHEST PREVIOUS SMALL BUSINESS BID OF $240,365 BY SHERIDAN. IF THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY STATES THAT IF WILLAMINA REFUSES TO SIGN A CONTRACT AT THE PRICE OF $382,065, THE FOREST SERVICE WOULD LIKE TO READVERTISE THE SALE WITHOUT ASSESSING DAMAGES AGAINST WILLAMINA PROVIDED OUR OFFICE WOULD RAISE NO OBJECTION.

UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1897, 30 STAT. 35, AS AMENDED, 16 U.S.C. 476, THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE IS AUTHORIZED, UNDER SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, TO CAUSE TO BE DESIGNATED AND APPRAISED SO MUCH OF THE DEAD, MATURED OR LARGE GROWTH OF TREES ON THE NATIONAL FORESTS AS MAY BE COMPATIBLE WITH THE UTILIZATION OF SUCH FORESTS, AND TO SELL THE SAME FOR NOT LESS THAN THE APPRAISED VALUE THEREOF, AFTER NOT LESS THAN 30 DAYS PUBLIC NOTICE BY NEWSPAPER ADVERTISING.

REGULATIONS OF THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE FOREST SERVICE ARE PUBLISHED AS CHAPTER II, TITLE 36, CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS. SECTION 200.4 THEREOF PROVIDES FOR THE ISSUANCE OF DIRECTIVES PRESCRIBING PROCEDURES FOR THE CONDUCT OF FOREST SERVICE ACTIVITIES. SUCH DIRECTIVES INCLUDE THE FOREST SERVICE MANUAL AND RELATED FOREST SERVICE HANDBOOKS, WHICH ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF BY THE DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT, FOR USE BY ALL FOREST SERVICE UNITS. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PROVISIONS QUOTED ABOVE FROM THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS ARE PRESCRIBED BY THE APPLICABLE FOREST SERVICE HANDBOOK.

UNDER 36 CFR 221.10 (A), AWARD OF ADVERTISED TIMBER IS REQUIRED TO BE MADE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER UPON SATISFACTORY SHOWING OF HIS ABILITY TO MEET FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS AND ANY OTHER CONDITIONS OF THE SALE EXCEPT IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES NOT HERE INVOLVED. UNDER 36 CFR 221.10 (D), IF TIMBER IS ADVERTISED AS SET ASIDE FOR COMPETITIVE BIDDING BY SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS (AS PERMITTED BY SECTION 15 OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ACT, 15 U.S.C. 644, AND BY 36 CFR 221.8 (B) (, AWARD IS REQUIRED TO BE MADE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER WHO QUALIFIES AS A SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN AND HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED BY SBA TO BE INELIGIBLE FOR PREFERENTIAL AWARD OF SET- ASIDE SALES. UNDER THESE REGULATIONS, AND UNDER THE PROVISIONS QUOTED ABOVE FROM THE INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS IN THE BID FORM AND THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS WHICH WAS INCLUDED IN THE BID PAPERS AND IS QUOTED ABOVE, THE SMALL BUSINESS SET-ASIDE OF THE GAULDY NO. 2 (I) SALE WAS PROPER; COLUMBIA WOULD HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED FROM COMPETITION HAD ITS SIZE BEEN DETERMINED AND MADE KNOWN TO THE FOREST SERVICE BEFORE THE BIDDING WAS CONCLUDED; AND WILLAMINA, AS THE HIGHEST QUALIFIED SMALL BUSINESS BIDDER, WAS FIRST IN LINE FOR AWARD. SINCE IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE SECOND PARAGRAPH QUOTED ABOVE FROM THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS PRECLUDES THE ENFORCEMENT OF AN AWARD TO WILLAMINA ON THE BASIS OF ITS HIGHEST ORAL BID, THE ONLY REMAINING QUESTION IS WHETHER WILLAMINA CAN ENFORCE AWARD TO IT OF THE TIMBER AT ITS FIRST BID AFTER THE HIGHEST BID RECEIVED FROM A QUALIFIED BIDDER, OR WHETHER, AS SUGGESTED BY YOUR DEPARTMENT, THE TIMBER MAY BE WITHDRAWN AND READVERTISED. IT APPEARS TO BE CONCEDED THAT IF NO AWARD HAD BEEN MADE PRIOR TO THE DETERMINATION THAT COLUMBIA WAS NOT A SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN, THE LANGUAGE OF THE PERTINENT PARAGRAPH WOULD HAVE REQUIRED AWARD TO WILLAMINA AT ITS $249,565 BID. APPARENTLY, HOWEVER, IT IS YOUR DEPARTMENT'S VIEW THAT SINCE AN AWARD WAS MADE WHICH LATER WAS DETERMINED TO BE IMPROPER THE SAME RESULT IS NOT REQUIRED. WE HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO FIND ANY LEGAL PRECEDENT OR AUTHORITY COVERING THE RIGHTS OF A BIDDER IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES AND UNDER THE ANNOUNCED TERMS OF THIS SALE. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH AUTHORITY, AND IN VIEW OF THE EXPRESS RESERVATION REQUIRED BY THE PERTINENT REGULATIONS (36 CFR 221.8 (C) ( OF THE RIGHT TO REJECT ANY AND ALL BIDS, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT AWARD MUST BE MADE TO WILLAMINA.

WE BELIEVE, NEVERTHELESS, THAT BIDS SHOULD NOT BE REJECTED ARBITRARILY OR WITHOUT SUBSTANTIAL GROUNDS FOR CONSIDERING SUCH ACTION TO BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND WE NOTE THAT SUCH RESERVATION HAS BEEN INCLUDED IN SUBSECTION (B) OF PARAGRAPH 9 OF THE INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS IN THE PRESENT INVITATION. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE STATEMENT IN THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER THAT "IT IS APPARENT FROM THE PRICES QUOTED ABOVE THAT THERE IS ADDITIONAL INTEREST IN THE TIMBER ABOVE THE PRICE LAST BID BY ANOTHER SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN" APPEARS TO BE OPEN TO QUESTION UNLESS IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT THE PROPOSED READVERTISEMENT WILL OFFER THE TIMBER WITHOUT RESTRICTION TO SMALL BUSINESS PURCHASERS. IT IS THEREFORE SUGGESTED THAT FURTHER CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO THE MATTER, AND THAT ANY DETERMINATION TO REJECT ALL BIDS BE BASED UPON CONVINCING EVIDENCE IT WILL BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT TO READVERTISE FOR BIDS. OTHERWISE AWARD TO WILLAMINA AT $249,565 WOULD APPEAR TO BE REQUIRED.