B-169592(2), MAR 18, 1971

B-169592(2): Mar 18, 1971

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THERE IS NO PROOF THAT LYNCH'S BIDS ON LOCAL MOVING CONTRACTS HAVE BEEN BELOW ITS LABOR COSTS AND WHILE IT APPEARS THERE HAVE BEEN OVERCHARGES IN SOME CASES. THESE APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY ERROR AND REFUNDS HAVE BEEN REQUESTED. THE VALIDITY OF THE AWARD IS NOT AFFECTED AND THE PROTEST IS THEREFORE DENIED. INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 30. YOUR INITIAL CONTENTION IS THAT THE AWARD TO LYNCH WAS MADE "UNDER SOME VERY STRANGE CIRCUMSTANCES. " WHICH YOU INFER ARE DISCUSSED IN THE PROTEST OF SAN FRANCISCO MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY (SAN FRANCISCO) UNDER THE ABOVE-REFERENCED IFB. ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO SAN FRANCISCO. ADDITIONAL CONTENTIONS MADE BY YOU ALONE ARE DISCUSSED BELOW.

B-169592(2), MAR 18, 1971

BID PROTEST - PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT - OVERCHARGES DECISION DENYING PROTEST AGAINST CONTRACT AWARDED TO LYNCH AND SONS VAN AND STORAGE COMPANY UNDER AN IFB ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. DESK SPACE FURNISHED TO A COMMERCIAL CARRIER'S REPRESENTATIVE BENEFITED THE GOVERNMENT BY EXPEDITING THE SETTLEMENT OF SEVERAL CLAIMS FOR LOST OR DAMAGED GSA CARGO. THERE IS NO PROOF THAT LYNCH'S BIDS ON LOCAL MOVING CONTRACTS HAVE BEEN BELOW ITS LABOR COSTS AND WHILE IT APPEARS THERE HAVE BEEN OVERCHARGES IN SOME CASES, THESE APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY ERROR AND REFUNDS HAVE BEEN REQUESTED. WHILE THIS PROTEST HAS LED TO SEVERAL RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE GSA PROCEDURES, THE VALIDITY OF THE AWARD IS NOT AFFECTED AND THE PROTEST IS THEREFORE DENIED.

TO PEETERS TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 30, 1970, CONCERNING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO LYNCH AND SONS VAN AND STORAGE COMPANY (LYNCH) UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. GS-09T-322, ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA), TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.

YOUR INITIAL CONTENTION IS THAT THE AWARD TO LYNCH WAS MADE "UNDER SOME VERY STRANGE CIRCUMSTANCES," WHICH YOU INFER ARE DISCUSSED IN THE PROTEST OF SAN FRANCISCO MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY (SAN FRANCISCO) UNDER THE ABOVE-REFERENCED IFB. ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO SAN FRANCISCO. TO THE EXTENT THAT YOUR CONTENTIONS PARALLEL THOSE OF SAN FRANCISCO, WE CONSIDER OUR RESPONSE TO SAN FRANCISCO TO BE DISPOSITIVE. ADDITIONAL CONTENTIONS MADE BY YOU ALONE ARE DISCUSSED BELOW.

YOU MAINTAIN THAT GSA HAS ACTED IMPROPERLY IN THAT IT HAS FURNISHED DESK SPACE, TELEPHONE AND OFFICE SERVICES FREE OF CHARGE TO A COMMERCIAL CARRIER'S REPRESENTATIVE. WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED BY THE GSA THAT DURING 1969 AND 1970, REPRESENTATIVES OF TWO CARRIERS WERE INTERMITTENTLY GIVEN DESK SPACE AT GSA'S TRANSPORTATION DIVISION. THESE REPRESENTATIVES WERE PRESENT IN REGARD TO CLAIMS LODGED AGAINST THEM BY GSA FOR LOST OR DAMAGED GSA CARGO SHIPPED WITH THEM. THE PRESENCE OF THESE CARRIERS' REPRESENTATIVES WAS BENEFICIAL TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THAT IT EXPEDITED THE SETTLEMENT OF MANY OF THESE CLAIMS, AND WE ARE AWARE OF NO PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT ACCORDED SUCH REPRESENTATIVES.

YOU FURTHER CONTEND THAT THE PROCURING ACTIVITY HAS "A TENDENCY TO ACT IN COMPLETE DISREGARD OF STANDARD POLICIES AND PRACTICES", WHICH YOU STATE A CERTAIN REPRESENTATIVE OF OUR OFFICE IS "DETAILING." WE ARE UNABLE TO RESPOND TO THIS CONTENTION SINCE YOU HAVE NOT IDENTIFIED THE "STANDARD POLICIES AND PRACTICES" WHICH ALLEGEDLY ARE NOT BEING OBSERVED. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AUDITOR WHOM YOU NAMED WAS CONDUCTING A SURVEY WHICH WAS NOT DIRECTED TOWARD THE ACTION OF ANY AGENCY OFFICIAL, NOR WAS IT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE INSTANT CONTRACT.

IN SUPPORT OF YOUR ALLEGATION THAT LYNCH'S BIDS ON THE LOCAL MOVING CONTRACT HAVE BEEN BELOW ITS LABOR COST ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, YOU STATE THAT YOU HAVE COMPUTED THE LYNCH BID ON A 1966 GSA SOLICITATION TO HAVE BEEN BELOW LABOR COST ON SIX OF THE NINE SCHEDULE ITEMS. HOWEVER, YOU WERE UNABLE TO PROVIDE WORKPAPERS IN SUPPORT OF YOUR COMPUTATIONS. HAVE OBSERVED THAT UNDER THE INSTANT SOLICITATION, LYNCH'S BID ON THE PRINCIPAL BID ITEM (STRAIGHT TIME EXTRA LABOR) WAS APPROXIMATELY $0.75 PER HOUR ABOVE YOUR ESTIMATE OF LYNCH'S LABOR COSTS. ADDITIONALLY, WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED BY LYNCH THAT THEY HAVE NEVER SUBMITTED A BID TO GSA'S TRANSPORTATION DIVISION BELOW LABOR COST. IN VIEW THEREOF, WE ARE UNABLE TO ACCEPT YOUR ALLEGATION ON THIS POINT.

IT IS ALSO YOUR POSITION THAT LYNCH MAY HAVE INTENTIONALLY "PADDED" ITS INVOICES SO AS TO CHARGE FOR MORE HOURS OF WORK THAN WERE ACTUALLY PERFORMED. THROUGH DISCUSSIONS WITH AGENCY OFFICIALS WHO HAVE USED THE SERVICES OF LYNCH, AND REVIEWS OF AGENCY FILES OF LYNCH'S INVOICES, WE HAVE FOUND INSTANCES WHERE LYNCH DID OVERCHARGE THE AGENCY. HOWEVER, THE OVERCHARGES APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY ERRORS RATHER THAN BY DELIBERATE MISREPRESENTATIONS OF HOURS WORKED. REFUNDS OF THESE OVERCHARGES HAVE BEEN REQUESTED. AS A RESULT OF OUR REVIEW, WE RECOMMENDED CERTAIN PROCEDURES TO DETECT SUCH OVERCHARGES, WHICH RECOMMENDATIONS HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY GSA.

SIMILARLY, WE HAVE RECOMMENDED THAT PROCEDURES BE ADOPTED TO IMPROVE THE RECORDING AND EVALUATION OF AGENCY COMPLAINTS CONCERNING THE SERVICES RENDERED UNDER THE GSA LOCAL MOVING CONTRACT. OUR INVESTIGATION SHOWED THAT ALL COMPLAINTS REGARDING LYNCH'S PERFORMANCE HAD BEEN MADE BY TELEPHONE AND NOT IN WRITING. ALTHOUGH THE CONTRACTOR WAS GENERALLY CONTACTED REGARDING THOSE COMPLAINTS, NO COMPREHENSIVE RECORD OF THEM HAD BEEN MAINTAINED. WHILE IN OUR VIEW THE PROCEDURES REGARDING AGENCY COMPLAINTS COULD BE IMPROVED, THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD DOES NOT SUPPORT YOUR ALLEGATION THAT GSA OFFICIALS HAVE SUPPRESSED AGENCY COMPLAINTS.

YOUR FINAL ALLEGATION THAT LYNCH HAS FAILED TO PAY ITS EMPLOYEES THE PREVAILING AREA WAGE RATES, IN VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF ITS CONTRACT, HAS BEEN REFERRED TO THE APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FOR THEIR INVESTIGATION AND ANY REMEDIAL ACTION WHICH THEY MAY DEEM APPROPRIATE.

ALTHOUGH OUR CONSIDERATION OF YOUR ALLEGATIONS HAS LED US TO RECOMMEND TO GSA CERTAIN IMPROVEMENTS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF ITS LOCAL MOVING CONTRACTS, THE RECORD PRESENTLY BEFORE US DISCLOSES NO IMPROPRIETY IN THE AWARDING OF THE INSTANT CONTRACT TO LYNCH WHICH WOULD AFFECT THE VALIDITY OF SUCH AWARD. TO THE EXTENT THAT YOUR REQUEST WAS DIRECTED TO ACTION BY THIS OFFICE BASED UPON SUCH A CONCLUSION, IT MUST THEREFORE BE DENIED.