B-164946, OCT. 4, 1968

B-164946: Oct 4, 1968

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 24. BOTH BISHOP AND YOUR FIRM WERE FOUND TO BE IN VIOLATION OF THE SAFE WORKING CONDITIONS PROVISION OF THE SERVICE CONTRACT ACT OF 1965. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE INSPECTIONS MADE IN MARCH WERE IN CONNECTION WITH CONTRACTS THEN IN EFFECT. SINCE THE MARINE CORPS CONDUCTED A PRE-AWARD SURVEY OF BISHOP AND FOUND THAT IT WAS A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. ITS BID WAS NOT REQUIRED TO BE REJECTED. AWARD WAS MADE TO THAT FIRM ON THE BASIS OF A DETERMINATION THAT IT WAS THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR THAT WHILE BISHOP DID HAVE SEVERAL UNSAFE OR UNHEALTHFUL CONDITIONS. AN INSPECTION MADE IN JULY INDICATED THAT ALL BUT ONE SUBSTANTIAL DEFECT HAD ALREADY BEEN CORRECTED AND CORRECTION OF THAT WAS IN PROGRESS.

B-164946, OCT. 4, 1968

TO SNO-WHITE LAUNDRY, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 24, 1968, PROTESTING AGAINST AN AWARD TO THE BISHOP LAUNDRY AND CLEANERS, INC., FOR LAUNDRY AND DRY CLEANING SERVICES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1969 UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. M67004-69-B-0003 ISSUED BY THE MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER, ALBANY, GEORGIA, ON MAY 9, 1968.

IT APPEARS THAT AN INSPECTION BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STANDARDS, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, HAD BEEN CONDUCTED IN MARCH OF 1968, AND BOTH BISHOP AND YOUR FIRM WERE FOUND TO BE IN VIOLATION OF THE SAFE WORKING CONDITIONS PROVISION OF THE SERVICE CONTRACT ACT OF 1965, PUBLIC LAW 89-286, 79 STAT. 1034. YOU SAY, HOWEVER, THAT WHILE YOUR FIRM HAD CORRECTED ITS DEFICIENCIES, BISHOP HAD NOT CORRECTED ITS DEFICIENCIES AT THE TIME OF AWARD OF THE 1969 CONTRACT ON JUNE 20, 1968. ON THAT BASIS YOU ALLEGE DISCRIMINATION IN THE APPLICATION OF THE ACT.

AS HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY EXPLAINED TO YOU BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, THE SAFETY AND HEALTH INFRACTIONS AT SNO-WHITE LAUNDRY HAD NO BEARING ON ITS LOSS OF THE CONTRACT. THE SAFETY AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE CONTRACT ACT DO NOT REQUIRE INSPECTION OF THE FACILITIES OF PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS PRIOR TO AWARD OF A CONTRACT, BUT ONLY AS A MEANS OF ENFORCING THE CONDITIONS WHICH THE ACT REQUIRES TO BE INCLUDED IN THE CONTRACT, AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE INSPECTIONS MADE IN MARCH WERE IN CONNECTION WITH CONTRACTS THEN IN EFFECT. SINCE THE MARINE CORPS CONDUCTED A PRE-AWARD SURVEY OF BISHOP AND FOUND THAT IT WAS A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER, ITS BID WAS NOT REQUIRED TO BE REJECTED, AND AWARD WAS MADE TO THAT FIRM ON THE BASIS OF A DETERMINATION THAT IT WAS THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. IN THIS CONNECTION, WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR THAT WHILE BISHOP DID HAVE SEVERAL UNSAFE OR UNHEALTHFUL CONDITIONS, AN INSPECTION MADE IN JULY INDICATED THAT ALL BUT ONE SUBSTANTIAL DEFECT HAD ALREADY BEEN CORRECTED AND CORRECTION OF THAT WAS IN PROGRESS.

AS YOU ALSO HAVE BEEN INFORMED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, IF SUCH DEFECTS ARE NOT CORRECTED, NORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES WOULD BE FOLLOWED TO ASSURE CORRECTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE CONTRACT ACT, OR THE DEBARMENT PROVISIONS OF THE ACT WOULD BE IMPOSED. IN THIS RESPECT REFERENCE IS MADE TO SECTION 5 OF THE ACT WHICH DIRECTS THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES TO DISTRIBUTE A LIST TO ALL AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT "GIVING THE NAMES OF PERSONS OR FIRMS THAT THE FEDERAL AGENCIES OR THE SECRETARY (OF LABOR) HAVE FOUND TO HAVE VIOLATED THIS ACT.' IT IS FURTHER PROVIDED THAT "UNLESS THE SECRETARY OTHERWISE RECOMMENDS, NO CONTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE AWARDED TO THE PERSONS OR FIRMS APPEARING ON THIS LIST * * * UNTIL THREE YEARS HAVE ELAPSED FROM THE DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE LIST * * *.' INASMUCH AS OUR OFFICE HAS NOT BEEN ADVISED OF ANY FINDINGS AS REQUIRED BY THE ACT, THE NAME OF THE BISHOP LAUNDRY AND CLEANERS, INC., HAS NOT BEEN PLACED ON THE LIST OF VIOLATORS OF THE ACT DISTRIBUTED BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, AND THE DEBARMENT PROVISIONS OF THE ACT HAVE NOT COME INTO EFFECT.

FOR THE REASONS STATED WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT THE AWARD TO BISHOP RESULTED IN A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT, AND YOUR PROTEST IS, THEREFORE, DENIED. B-161867, AUGUST 16, 1967.