B-165685-/2), JUL. 24, 1969

B-165685-/2): Jul 24, 1969

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TO GENERAL HEDLUND: ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO THE ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING NORTON COMPANY IN ITS PROTEST AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO CARBORUNDUM COMPANY UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. THE PROTEST WAS THE SUBJECT OF A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 19. WE CANNOT APPROVE ALL OF THE PROCEDURES FOLLOWED IN THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT AND THE METHOD BY WHICH THE INSTANT PROTEST WAS HANDLED BY THE FIELD ACTIVITY OF YOUR OFFICE AND THE ARMY. THE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE IN THIS PROTEST HAS ALWAYS BEEN WHETHER CARBORUNDUM'S SAMPLES MET THE SPECIFICATIONS IN VIEW OF THE ALLEGATIONS THAT THE TEST PROCEDURES WERE FAULTY. WHEN WE WERE FURNISHED WITH THE TEST DATA FROM AMMRC AND NATICK ON MAY 1.

B-165685-/2), JUL. 24, 1969

BID PROTEST - IMPROPRIETIES IN TESTING PROCEDURE - DELAY LETTERS TO SECRETARY OF THE ARMY AND DIRECTOR, DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY CALLING ATTENTION TO IMPROPRIETIES IN TESTING PROCEDURES AND DELAY IN TRANSMITTING COMPLETE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS SO THAT GAO COULD TAKE REMEDIAL ACTION.

TO GENERAL HEDLUND:

ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO THE ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING NORTON COMPANY IN ITS PROTEST AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO CARBORUNDUM COMPANY UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. DSA-100-69 R-0150, ISSUED BY THE DEFENSE PERSONNEL SUPPORT CENTER, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. THE PROTEST WAS THE SUBJECT OF A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 19, 1968, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM MR. ROBERT D. COLE, OFFICE OF COUNSEL, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE DISCUSSED IN THE DECISION.

WHILE FOR THE REASONS STATED WE DID NOT FEEL THAT WE SHOULD REQUIRE CANCELLATION OF THE CONTRACT AWARDED UNDER THE RFP, WE CANNOT APPROVE ALL OF THE PROCEDURES FOLLOWED IN THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT AND THE METHOD BY WHICH THE INSTANT PROTEST WAS HANDLED BY THE FIELD ACTIVITY OF YOUR OFFICE AND THE ARMY.

THE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE IN THIS PROTEST HAS ALWAYS BEEN WHETHER CARBORUNDUM'S SAMPLES MET THE SPECIFICATIONS IN VIEW OF THE ALLEGATIONS THAT THE TEST PROCEDURES WERE FAULTY; YET THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DECEMBER 10, 1968, REPORT AND HIS SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT OF FEBRUARY 6, 1969, IMPLIED THAT CARBORUNDUM'S SAMPLES PASSED WITHOUT DIFFICULTY AND DENIED ANY KNOWLEDGE OR EVIDENCE OF IMPROPER TEST PROCEDURES. HOWEVER, WHEN WE WERE FURNISHED WITH THE TEST DATA FROM AMMRC AND NATICK ON MAY 1, 1969, SUCH DATA INDICATED MATERIAL DIFFERENCES IN WHAT APPARENTLY OCCURRED CONCERNING THE EFFORTS TO APPROVE CARBORUNDUM'S SAMPLES. FOR EXAMPLE, NATICK'S LETTER OF APRIL 24, 1969, WHICH WAS A PART OF THE MAY 1 REPORT, DENIED THAT SAMPLES 1, 5 AND 8 WERE EVER TESTED FOR A REAL DENSITY EVEN THOUGH A REAL DENSITY TEST RESULTS ON THOSE PRECISE SAMPLES WERE INCLUDED IN THE ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTS. ALSO, THE MAY 1 REPORT CLEARLY REFLECTED THAT THE TESTING ACTIVITY WAS FULLY AWARE OF THE QUESTIONABLE TEST PROCEDURES, AS ALLEGED BY NORTON.

ASIDE FROM THE FOREGOING IMPROPRIETIES, SUCH PROLONGED DELAY IN TRANSMITTING THE COMPLETE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT TO OUR OFFICE AS OCCURRED IN THE INSTANT CASE, EFFECTIVELY PRECLUDES US FROM TAKING PROPER REMEDIAL ACTION, NO MATTER HOW CLEARLY JUSTIFIED. SUCH DELAYS HAVE BECOME A SERIOUS CONCERN OF THE CONGRESS, AS WELL AS THIS OFFICE, AND WE RECOMMEND THAT CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO AN APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY.

YOUR ATTENTION IS ALSO INVITED TO THAT PORTION OF OUR DECISION WHICH ADVISES THAT EXERCISE OF THE OPTION IN THE CARBORUNDUM CONTRACT WITHOUT FIRST DETERMINING WHETHER SUCH ACTION WOULD BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT FROM THE STANDPOINT OF BOTH QUALITY AND PRICE WOULD BE CONSIDERED IMPROPER BY OUR OFFICE.

COPIES OF THIS LETTER AND OF OUR DECISION LETTER ARE BEING FORWARDED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, AND A COPY OF OUR LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY IS ENCLOSED.

THE DOCUMENTS FURNISHED WITH THE VARIOUS REPORTS FROM YOUR AGENCY ARE RETURNED.