B-170197, SEP. 4, 1970

B-170197: Sep 4, 1970

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PROTESTANT WHO CLAIMS THAT LOW BIDDER WAS NOT A REGULAR DEALER IN DEALING WITH PUBLISHERS FOR ITEMS TO BE SUPPLIED AND DID NOT CARRY THE REQUIRED BOOKS IN STOCK FOR QUALIFYING FOR AWARD OF ITEM 9 OF THE CONTRACT IS DENIED PROTEST. SINCE LOW BIDDER HAS FURNISHED THE PROCURING OFFICE PROOF VERIFYING THAT IT IS MOST COMPETENT AND RESPONSIBLE IN HAVING THE SOURCE. BOOKS ARE PURCHASED UNDER STANDARD INDUSTRY FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS. QUINT & GORDON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 30. ITEM 9 OF THE SOLICITATION IS FOR CURRENT PAPERBACK BOOKS. STATED THAT ITS TOTAL ANNUAL VOLUME OF PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOK BUSINESS WAS $1. IN ITS BID DOCUMENT EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS CERTIFIED THAT IT IS IN FACT A "REGULAR DEALER" IN THE ITEMS TO BE SUPPLIED.

B-170197, SEP. 4, 1970

BID PROTEST - CONTRACTOR QUALIFICATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITY DENIAL OF PROTEST ON BEHALF OF THE DISTRICT NEWS COMPANY AGAINST AWARD OF ITEM 9 OF INVITATION FOR BIDS FOR PAPERBACK BOOKS, REGULAR, TRADE AND ACADEMIC TO EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS, INC., BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. PROTESTANT WHO CLAIMS THAT LOW BIDDER WAS NOT A REGULAR DEALER IN DEALING WITH PUBLISHERS FOR ITEMS TO BE SUPPLIED AND DID NOT CARRY THE REQUIRED BOOKS IN STOCK FOR QUALIFYING FOR AWARD OF ITEM 9 OF THE CONTRACT IS DENIED PROTEST, SINCE LOW BIDDER HAS FURNISHED THE PROCURING OFFICE PROOF VERIFYING THAT IT IS MOST COMPETENT AND RESPONSIBLE IN HAVING THE SOURCE, IN AS MUCH THAT IT MAINTAINS INSTANTANEOUS CONTACT WITH PUBLISHERS THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES BY WESTERN UNION TELEX, AND BOOKS ARE PURCHASED UNDER STANDARD INDUSTRY FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS.

TO DANZANSKY, DICKEY, QUINT & GORDON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 30, 1970, IN BEHALF OF THE DISTRICT NEWS COMPANY, PROTESTING AWARD OF ITEM 9 OF INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 76-080-0-0521-SS ISSUED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ON MAY 22, 1970, TO EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS, INCORPORATED.

ITEM 9 OF THE SOLICITATION IS FOR CURRENT PAPERBACK BOOKS, REGULAR, TRADE AND ACADEMIC, "PAPERBACK BOOKS IN PRINT" AND "PAPERBACK GOES TO SCHOOL." THE INVITATION INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING PROVISION RELATING TO ITEM 9:

"CONTRACTOR QUALIFICATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITY

"BIDDER SHALL BE A REGULAR DEALER DEALING WITH PUBLISHERS. MUST CARRY 100,000 BOOKS IN STOCK, AND ABLE TO SUPPLY INFORMATION ON STATUS OF ORDERS WITHIN 10 DAYS." IN REPLY TO A QUESTIONNAIRE, INCLUDED AS A PART OF THE BID SOLICITATION, EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS, INCORPORATED, STATED THAT ITS TOTAL ANNUAL VOLUME OF PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOK BUSINESS WAS $1,000,000; THAT IT HAD BEEN IN BUSINESS TWO YEARS; THAT IT HAD IN STOCK 400,000 ADULT BOOKS OF 40,000 TITLES AND 400,000 JUVENILE BOOKS OF 15,000 TITLES. ALSO, IN ITS BID DOCUMENT EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS CERTIFIED THAT IT IS IN FACT A "REGULAR DEALER" IN THE ITEMS TO BE SUPPLIED.

AWARD WAS MADE TO EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS AS THE LOW BIDDER ON JUNE 12, 1970.

IN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 30, 1970, IT IS STATED THAT THE PROTEST IS SPECIFICALLY "BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER, EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS, INCORPORATED IS NOT A 'A REGULAR DEALER DEALING WITH PUBLISHERS' AND DOES NOT 'CARRY 100,000 BOOKS IN STOCK' AS REQUIRED OF THE CONTRACTOR TO QUALIFY FOR AWARD OF ITEM 9 OF THE CONTRACT. IN ADDITION IT IS STATED THAT PROOF OF THE LACK OF QUALIFICATIONS WILL BE FURNISHED AS NECESSARY AND WHEN REQUESTED.

INCLUDED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE FILE FURNISHED US BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, IS A COPY OF LETTER DATED JULY 16, 1970, FROM EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS, INCORPORATED, TO THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER, COMMENTING ON THE PROTEST. THIS LETTER STATES THAT EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS, INCORPORATED, MAINTAINS INSTANTANEOUS CONTACT WITH PUBLISHERS THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES BY WESTERN UNION TELEX AND THAT IT BELIEVES IT IS THE ONLY AREA BOOK DEALER WITH THIS ACCESS TO PUBLISHERS. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT IT RECENTLY COMPLETED A CONTRACT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND THAT IT HAS SUPPLIED LIBRARIES AND DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION FOR SEVERAL OF THE COUNTIES IN THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA. ADDITIONALLY IT IS STATED THAT THE COMPANY HAS SUPPLIED BOOKS FOR PUBLIC AND QUASI-PUBLIC AGENCIES IN CALIFORNIA, IDAHO, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA AND MISSISSIPPI, AND THAT BOOKS ARE PURCHASED FROM PUBLISHERS UNDER STANDARD INDUSTRY FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS.

A COPY OF THE ABOVE LETTER WAS FURNISHED YOUR OFFICE AND EXAMINATION OF THE FILE IN OUR OFFICE WAS PERMITTED. UPON INQUIRY, WE WERE ADVISED THAT NO FURTHER COMMENT WOULD BE MADE BY YOUR OFFICE.

THE BID OF EDUCATIONAL LEARNING SYSTEMS, INCORPORATED, IS REGULAR ON ITS FACE, AND ENTIRELY RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION. THE PROCURING OFFICE HAS SATISFIED ITSELF THAT THIS BIDDER WAS LOW ON ITEM 9, AND MEETS THE QUALIFICATIONS STANDARDS. THERE APPEARS TO BE NO QUESTION ABOUT THE FIRM'S RESPONSIBILITY. THEREFORE, WE FIND NO BASIS FOR QUESTIONING THE DECISION OF THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE MUST DENY YOUR PROTEST.