B-164661, AUG. 26, 1968

B-164661: Aug 26, 1968

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

INCORPORATED: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEFAX OF JUNE 24. IT IS REPORTED THAT PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE SOLICITATION ON MAY 24. A CHECK WAS MADE OF ALL INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN THE CONTRACTING OFFICE AS TO WHETHER BALANCES OF A SIMILAR NATURE WERE ON THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA) CONTRACT. THAT THE FSC SCHEDULES REVEALED THAT THE ONLY BALANCES ON SUCH CONTRACT WERE SMALL MICRO BALANCES OF 5 GRAM CAPACITY. THE UNITS REQUIRED WERE TO BE OF 160 GRAM CAPACITY. THE NINE BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE SOLICITATION WERE OPENED ON JUNE 7. THE LOW BID RECEIVED WAS AN ALTERNATE BID FROM WILL SCIENTIFIC. THE BID WAS REJECTED SINCE THE BALANCE OFFERED DID NOT HAVE RAPID DIAL TARING AND ZERO ADJUSTMENT THROUGHOUT THE OPTIONAL RANGE AS REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS.

B-164661, AUG. 26, 1968

TO WILLIAM AINSWORTH AND SONS, INCORPORATED:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEFAX OF JUNE 24, 1968, PROTESTING AGAINST THE AWARD MADE FOR TWO METTLER H6T DIGITAL ANALYTICAL BALANCES UNDER SOLICITATION NO. 267-S-ARS-68, ISSUED BY THE SOUTHERN ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION, AGRICULTURE RESEARCH SERVICE, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA.

THE SOLICITATION COVERED SEVERAL ITEMS OF LABORATORY EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING UNDER ITEM NO. 4 TWO ANALYTICAL BALANCES IN ACCORDANCE WITH CERTAIN SPECIFIED REQUIREMENTS. IT IS REPORTED THAT PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE SOLICITATION ON MAY 24, 1968, A CHECK WAS MADE OF ALL INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN THE CONTRACTING OFFICE AS TO WHETHER BALANCES OF A SIMILAR NATURE WERE ON THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA) CONTRACT, AND THAT THE FSC SCHEDULES REVEALED THAT THE ONLY BALANCES ON SUCH CONTRACT WERE SMALL MICRO BALANCES OF 5 GRAM CAPACITY. THE UNITS REQUIRED WERE TO BE OF 160 GRAM CAPACITY.

THE NINE BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE SOLICITATION WERE OPENED ON JUNE 7, 1968. THE LOW BID RECEIVED WAS AN ALTERNATE BID FROM WILL SCIENTIFIC, INCORPORATED, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, IN THE AMOUNT OF $492.00 EACH. THIS COMPANY OFFERED THE AINSWORTH 28N AS AN ALTERNATE. THE BID WAS REJECTED SINCE THE BALANCE OFFERED DID NOT HAVE RAPID DIAL TARING AND ZERO ADJUSTMENT THROUGHOUT THE OPTIONAL RANGE AS REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS. IDENTICAL NEXT LOW BIDS IN THE AMOUNT OF $695.00 EACH WERE RECEIVED FROM ARTHUR H. THOMAS COMPANY, W.H. CURTIN AND COMPANY, SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTS, AND THE BASIC BID OF WILL SCIENTIFIC, INCORPORATED. ALL OF THESE COMPANIES OFFERED THE METTLER H6T DIGITAL WHICH MET ALL REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. THE AWARD WAS MADE BY LOT TO ARTHUR H. THOMAS COMPANY, BY PURCHASE ORDER S-9047-ARS-68 DATED JUNE 14, 1968.

ON JUNE 24, 1968, A TELEGRAPHIC PROTEST AGAINST THE AWARD WAS RECEIVED BY THE CONTRACTING AGENCY FROM WILLIAM AINSWORTH AND SONS. IN A TELEPHONE CONVERSATION YOU ADVISED THE CONTRACTING AGENCY THAT THE BALANCE THAT YOU CONSIDERED TO BE AN EQUAL TO THE METTLER H6T DIGITAL IS THE AINSWORTH 28NT. ON JUNE 26, 1968, THE CONTRACTING AGENCY MADE A CALL TO GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, WASHINGTON, D.C., AND IT WAS VERIFIED THAT THE AINSWORTH 28NT WAS PLACED ON GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION CONTRACT NO. GS-00S-75694 EFFECTIVE MAY 1, 1968. HOWEVER, NOTIFICATION THEREOF WAS BEING ISSUED ON AMENDMENT NO. 3 TO FSC 66 PART II AND THIS AMENDMENT WAS THEN BEING PROCESSED. IT IS REPORTED THAT AS OF JULY 10, 1968, AMENDMENT NO. 3 HAD NOT BEEN RECEIVED BY THE CONTRACTING AGENCY INVOLVED, NOR HAD ANY GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION CATALOGS BEEN RECEIVED FROM WILLIAM AINSWORTH AND SONS.

IT IS FURTHER REPORTED THAT IN THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION YOU ADVISED THAT A LETTER WAS ISSUED ,SOMETIME DURING THE WEEK OF MAY 27, 1968," NOTIFYING GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION CONTRACT. A SEARCH OF THE FILES OF THE AGENCY FAILED TO REVEAL THE RECEIPT OF SUCH A LETTER, NOR WAS ANY PERSON IN THE AGENCY AWARE OF THE LETTER. YOU ALSO STATED THAT A PURCHASE ORDER WAS ISSUED "BY YOUR AGENCY" FOR AN AINSWORTH 28NT BALANCE WHICH CITED THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION CONTRACT. A CHECK CONCERNING SUCH A PURCHASE REVEALED THAT PURCHASE ORDER 222-S-1313-ARS-68, DATED JUNE 7, 1968, WAS ISSUED BY MR. FLOYD FINKE OF THE KERRVILLE, TEXAS, AGRICULTURE RESEARCH SERVICE OFFICE. MR. FINKE HAS STATED THAT HE DOES NOT RECALL HOW THE INFORMATION CONCERNING THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION CONTRACT WAS OBTAINED, BUT HE BELIEVES IT WAS THROUGH A TELEPHONE CALL WITH A LOCAL SUPPLIER ON JUNE 5, 1968.

YOU STATED IN TELEFAX OF JUNE 24, 1968, THAT THE ARTHUR H. THOMAS COMPANY, THE FIRM TO WHOM THE AWARD WAS MADE FOR METTLER BALANCES, HANDLES AINSWORTH EQUIPMENT. FURTHERMORE, SINCE WILL SCIENTIFIC, INCORPORATED, OFFERED AN AINSWORTH 28N AS AN ALTERNATE, IT APPEARS THAT SUCH FIRM ALSO IS AN AINSWORTH DEALER, AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT YOU SELL ONLY THROUGH DEALERS. APPARENTLY, THEY DID NOT KNOW THAT THE AINSWORTH 28NT BALANCE WAS COVERED BY A FEDERAL SUPPLY CONTRACT AT THE TIME THEY SUBMITTED THEIR BID ON THE METTLER BALANCE.

IT IS CLEAR FROM THE FACTS REPORTED THAT THE SOUTHERN ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION OF THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, WAS NOT AWARE THAT BALANCES MEETING THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS WERE AVAILABLE UNDER THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION FEDERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE. ACCORDINGLY, WE FIND NO BASIS TO QUESTION THE AWARD MADE UNDER ITEM NO. 4 OF SOLICITATION 267-S-ARS-68 AND, THEREFORE, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.