B-170227, OCT. 30, 1970

B-170227: Oct 30, 1970

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EVIDENCE THAT CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED ALL OFFERORS BY TELEPHONE THAT PARTICULAR DAY WAS THE CLOSING TIME FOR REVISED OFFERS MUST BE ACCEPTED IN ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE TO OVERCOME PROTESTANT'S CONTENTIONS. FAILURE OF CONTRACTING OFFER TO INFORM OFFERORS OF PROPOSED MODIFICATION AFTER CUTOFF DATE IS NOT FATAL TO AWARD TO LOW OFFEROR. RISTIG & SMITH: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED JULY 2. THIS WAS ALSO SYNOPSIZED IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY AND IT WAS CONTEMPLATED THAT THIS PROCUREMENT WOULD BE HANDLED PURSUANT TO THE PROCESS OF TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISING. ONLY ONE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WAS RECEIVED AND THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ATTEMPTED TO NEGOTIATE WITH THAT OFFEROR. THESE POTENTIAL OFFERORS WERE INFORMED THAT THE CLOSING DATE FOR SUBMISSION OF THEIR PROPOSALS WAS JUNE 1.

B-170227, OCT. 30, 1970

BID PROTEST - NEGOTIATIONS - LATE REVISION DENIAL OF PROTEST AGAINST AWARD OF NEGOTIATED CONTRACT TO LOW OFFEROR FOR FURNISHING AUTOMATED STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM TO RED RIVER ARMY DEPOT AND REJECTION OF PROTESTANT'S REDUCED REVISED OFFER AS LATE. EVIDENCE THAT CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED ALL OFFERORS BY TELEPHONE THAT PARTICULAR DAY WAS THE CLOSING TIME FOR REVISED OFFERS MUST BE ACCEPTED IN ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE TO OVERCOME PROTESTANT'S CONTENTIONS. FAILURE OF CONTRACTING OFFER TO INFORM OFFERORS OF PROPOSED MODIFICATION AFTER CUTOFF DATE IS NOT FATAL TO AWARD TO LOW OFFEROR.

TO SMITH, RISTIG & SMITH:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED JULY 2, 1970, AND SUBSEQUENT LETTERS IN WHICH YOU PROTEST ON BEHALF OF PAGE AIRWAYS, INC., THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO NAVIGATE, INC., FOR AN AUTOMATED STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM UNDER ITEM 001B OF REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL DAAG47-70-R-0141 ISSUED BY THE RED RIVER ARMY DEPOT, TEXARKANA, TEXAS, ON MAY 18, 1970.

ON MARCH 16, 1970, RED RIVER ARMY DEPOT SENT A PRESOLICITATION NOTICE TO 34 PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF AN AUTOMATIC STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM. THIS WAS ALSO SYNOPSIZED IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY AND IT WAS CONTEMPLATED THAT THIS PROCUREMENT WOULD BE HANDLED PURSUANT TO THE PROCESS OF TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISING. ONLY ONE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WAS RECEIVED AND THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ATTEMPTED TO NEGOTIATE WITH THAT OFFEROR. UNABLE TO OBTAIN A FIRM FIXED PRICE CONTRACT UNDER TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISING PROCEDURES, THE GOVERNMENT SENT A REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) TO FOUR FIRMS, EACH OF WHICH HAD SUBMITTED A PROPOSAL ON A PREVIOUS SIMILAR PROCUREMENT BY THE TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT. THESE POTENTIAL OFFERORS WERE INFORMED THAT THE CLOSING DATE FOR SUBMISSION OF THEIR PROPOSALS WAS JUNE 1, 1970, AT 3:30 P.M. ALTHOUGH THE ARMY REALIZED THAT THIS WAS A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME TO SUBMIT A PROPOSAL FOR THIS REQUIREMENT, IT WAS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL THAT THE AWARD BE MADE NO LATER THAN JUNE 30, 1970. AS THE RESULT OF A MODIFICATION IN THE RFP DELETING CERTAIN SOFTWARE, THE CLOSING DATE WAS SUBSEQUENTLY EXTENDED TO JUNE 5, 1970. THE EXTENSION TO JUNE 5 WAS COMMUNICATED TO ALL OFFERORS BY TELETYPE ON MAY 28, 1970, AND LATER CONFIRMED BY AN AMENDMENT TO THE RFP DATED JUNE 2, 1970.

ON JUNE 1, 1970, MR. J. J. THUM, REPRESENTING PAGE AIRWAYS, INC., DELIVERED HIS COMPANY'S PROPOSAL TO THE OFFICE OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. AT THAT TIME, MR. THUM WAS REMINDED OF THE CHANGES THAT WERE SENT TO PROSPECTIVE OFFERORS ON MAY 28, 1970, AND HE STATED THAT HE NEVER RECEIVED THE NOTIFICATION. MR. THUM THEN SPENT MUCH OF THE DAY OF JUNE 1 DISCUSSING THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE PROPOSED PROCUREMENT WITH THE DEPOT'S TECHNICAL PERSONNEL. BY JUNE 5, 1970, THREE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED. SINCE ALL OF THE PROPOSALS EXCEEDED THE COST ESTIMATE AND APPROVED FUNDING FOR THIS PROCUREMENT, THE GOVERNMENT'S TECHNICAL PERSONNEL INVESTIGATED AREAS WHICH COULD BE DELETED FROM THE PROPOSED PROCUREMENT.

ON JUNE 8, 1970, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONTACTED THE THREE OFFERORS AND DISCUSSED THOSE ELEMENTS OF THE RFP THAT THE GOVERNMENT DESIRED TO DELETE. IT IS REPORTED THAT DURING THESE TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS ON JUNE 8, 1970, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER INFORMED THE THREE OFFERORS THAT THE FINAL CUTOFF DATE FOR NEGOTIATIONS WAS 3:30 P.M., JUNE 12, 1970, AND THAT THEY MUST CONFIRM THEIR FINAL REVISED PRICES IN WRITING NO LATER THAN THAT TIME. THE CONVERSATIONS WERE WITNESSED AND/OR PARTICIPATED IN ON TELEPHONE EXTENSIONS BY THE DEPOT'S SUPERVISORY PROCUREMENT AGENT AND AN ENGINEER IN THE DEPOT'S FACILITIES DIVISION.

ALL THREE OF THE OFFERORS AT VARIOUS TIMES REQUESTED MORE TIME FOR SUBMISSION OF THEIR INITIAL AND REVISED PROPOSALS DUE TO DIFFICULTIES THEY WERE ENCOUNTERING IN SECURING FIRM BIDS FROM SUBCONTRACTORS. ALL OF THESE REQUESTS FOR EXTENSIONS WERE REJECTED SINCE NUMEROUS REVIEWS AND APPROVALS WERE REQUIRED TO BE MADE ON THIS PROCUREMENT AND ANY EXTENSIONS WOULD PREVENT THE ARMY FROM MEETING ITS SCHEDULED CONTRACT AWARD DATE. THE REASONS WHY ADDITIONAL TIME TO SUBMIT THEIR PROPOSALS COULD NOT BE GRANTED WERE DISCUSSED IN DETAIL WITH EACH OFFEROR AT VARIOUS TIMES DURING THE NEGOTIATION PERIOD. ALL OFFERORS SUBMITTED THEIR PRICES BY 3:30 P.M., JUNE 12, 1970, AS PREVIOUSLY REQUESTED. THE PRICES OF THE THREE OFFERORS ON ITEM 001B WERE:

NAVIGATE, INC. $ 1,152,000.00

PAGE AIRWAYS, INC. 1,213,640.54

INTERLAKE STEEL CORP. 1,452,548.00

IT IS REPORTED THAT ON JUNE 15, 1970, DURING A TELEPHONE CONVERSATION BETWEEN MR. THUM AND THE DEPOT'S PROCUREMENT AGENT, MR. THUM STATED THAT HE DID NOT KNOW IF THE SOFTWARE ELIMINATED BY THE AMENDMENT OF JUNE 2 HAD BEEN DELETED FROM PAGE'S BID PRICE BUT HE WOULD CHECK AND ADVISE IF IT HAD IN FACT BEEN DELETED. UPON DISCOVERING THAT IT HAD NOT BEEN DELETED, A PRICE REDUCTION OF $12,000 FOR THIS DELETION WAS TELEGRAPHED TO THE PROCUREMENT AGENT ON JUNE 16, 1970, WHICH AMOUNT WAS DEDUCTED FROM PAGE'S OFFER FOR A FINAL PRICE OF $1,201,640.54. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES THAT THE REDUCTION WAS ALLOWED SO THAT PAGE'S OFFER WOULD BE ON THE SAME REQUIREMENTS AS THE OTHER OFFERS, AND THAT SUCH ACTION WAS NOT CONSIDERED OR INTENDED TO REOPEN NEGOTIATIONS.

IT IS FURTHER REPORTED THAT THE THREE OFFERORS WERE REQUESTED BY TELEPHONE TO EXECUTE A SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE RFP, DATED JUNE 18, 1970, IN ORDER TO HAVE THEIR FINAL PRICES, AS PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED, CERTIFIED AND AS A MATTER OF RECORD SINCE THE CONTRACT PACKAGE HAD TO BE CARRIED TO HEADQUARTERS, ARMY MATERIEL COMMAND (AMC), FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL NO LATER THAN JUNE 23, 1970. THE AMENDMENT WAS EXECUTED AND RETURNED BY ALL OFFERORS. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ALSO STATES THAT HAD ANY PRICE CHANGES BEEN MADE BY ANY OF THE OFFERORS IN THE EXECUTED AMENDMENT SUCH CHANGES WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED.

ON JUNE 23, 1970, ALL THREE PROPOSALS WERE DELIVERED TO HEADQUARTERS, AMC, IN WASHINGTON, D. C. THE PROPOSED AWARD TO NAVIGATE WAS APPROVED BY HEADQUARTERS, AMC, ON JUNE 25, 1970, AND THE NEXT DAY JUNE 26, AT 9:30 A.M., EDT, AMC GAVE CONGRESSIONAL NOTIFICATION THAT THE AWARD TO NAVIGATE, INC., WOULD BE MADE AT 4:00 P.M., JUNE 30, 1970. AT APPROXIMATELY 2:22 P.M., JUNE 26, 1970, THE PROCUREMENT ACTIVITY RECEIVED A WIRE FROM PAGE, WHICH HAD BEEN TRANSMITTED AT 10:43 A.M., CDT, OFFERING A PRICE REDUCTION OF $78,265.00 WHICH, IF ACCEPTED, WOULD HAVE HAD THE RESULT OF DISPLACING NAVIGATE AS THE LOW OFFEROR. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONSIDERED THIS OFFER AS A LATE MODIFICATION AND HANDLED IT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE "LATE PROPOSALS" PROVISION OF THE RFP. SINCE NONE OF THE EXCEPTIONS OF THE "LATE PROPOSALS" PROVISION WAS APPLICABLE TO THE PROPOSED MODIFICATION, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT HE WOULD BE UNABLE TO CONSIDER IT, AND HE AWARDED THE CONTRACT TO NAVIGATE ON JUNE 30 AS SCHEDULED.

YOU STATE IN YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM THAT THE BASIC QUESTION IS WHETHER BIDDERS WERE IN FACT NOTIFIED OF THE SPECIFIED DATE OF THE CLOSING OF NEGOTIATIONS; THAT ANY REVISION TO THEIR PROPOSALS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY THAT DATE; AND THAT ANY REVISION RECEIVED AFTER THAT DATE WOULD BE TREATED AS A LATE PROPOSAL AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 3-805.1(B) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION. YOU CONTEND THAT PAGE'S PRICE REVISION OF JUNE 26, 1970, MUST BE ACCEPTED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND AS A RESULT THEREOF, YOUR CLIENT MUST BE CONSIDERED THE LOW RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE OFFEROR AND RECEIVE THE AWARD. YOU BASE THIS POSITION ON THE CONTENTION THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DID NOT ADVISE PAGE ON JUNE 8 THAT JUNE 12 WAS THE CLOSING DAY FOR NEGOTIATIONS, AND IN NO EVENT WAS PAGE ADVISED THAT NEGOTIATIONS WERE CLOSED PRIOR TO SUBMISSION OF ITS PRICE REVISION OF JUNE 26. YOU SAY THAT INASMUCH AS NEGOTIATIONS WERE NEVER CLOSED AS REQUIRED BY ASPR 3 805.1(B), BIDDERS COULD SUBMIT REVISED PROPOSALS UNTIL THE AWARD WAS MADE, AND SINCE PAGE SUBMITTED ITS LAST PRICE REVISION ON JUNE 26, PRIOR TO THE DATE OF AWARD, SUCH PRICE REVISION WAS TIMELY. YOU ALSO CONTEND THAT ASSUMING, ARGUENDO, OFFERORS WERE NOTIFIED IN THE JUNE 8 TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS TO HAVE THEIR FINAL REVISED OFFERS IN BY JUNE 12, AND THAT SUCH ADVICE CAN BE ACCEPTED AS MEANING THAT NEGOTIATIONS WERE TO BE CLOSED ON JUNE 12, THE FACTS DISCLOSE THAT THERE WERE NEGOTIATIONS WITH AT LEAST PAGE AND INTERLAKE SUBSEQUENT TO JUNE 12. YOU HAVE SUBMITTED DETAILED AFFIDAVITS BY THE OFFICIALS OF PAGE AND INTERLAKE, WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE NEGOTIATIONS, WHICH CATEGORICALLY DENY THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED THOSE OFFERORS DURING THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS OF JUNE 8 TO SUBMIT THEIR FINAL REVISED PRICES BY JUNE 12. FURTHER, THAT IN NO EVENT DURING THOSE CONVERSATIONS, OR ANY TIME SUBSEQUENT THERETO, WAS IT STATED THAT NEGOTIATIONS WOULD BE CLOSED AS OF JUNE 12, OR THAT PROPOSALS RECEIVED THEREAFTER WOULD BE CONSIDERED AS LATE PROPOSALS. SUCH AFFIDAVITS ALSO SUPPORT YOUR CONTENTION THAT SUCH OFFICIALS ENGAGED IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AFTER JUNE 12.

THE OPPOSITE POSITION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IS THAT ON JUNE 8, 1970, DURING THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS WITH THE THREE OFFERORS, IT WAS UNEQUIVOCALLY STATED THAT THE FINAL CUTOFF DATE FOR NEGOTIATIONS WAS JUNE 12, 1970, AT 3:30 P.M., AND THAT OFFERORS WOULD HAVE UNTIL THAT TIME TO SUBMIT THEIR FINAL REVISED PRICES. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, THE DEPOT'S PROCUREMENT AGENT AND THE DEPOT'S ENGINEER HAVE SUBMITTED AFFIDAVITS STATING THAT EACH OFFEROR WAS ADVISED IN THE JUNE 8 TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS THAT IT WOULD HAVE UNTIL 3:30 P.M., JUNE 12, 1970, TO SUBMIT ITS FINAL REVISED PRICE. WHILE IT IS NOTED, AS YOU HAVE POINTED OUT, THAT THE AFFIDAVITS DO NOT STATE SPECIFICALLY THAT THE OFFERORS WERE NOTIFIED THAT NEGOTIATIONS WOULD BE CLOSED ON JUNE 12, SUCH AFFIDAVITS CLEARLY STATE THAT THE OFFERORS WERE ADVISED TO SUBMIT THEIR FINAL REVISED PRICES BY THE SPECIFIED TIME. AN AFFIDAVIT BY THE PRESIDENT OF NAVIGATE ALSO STATES THAT THE NEED FOR A FINAL PRICE BY 3:30 P.M., JUNE 12, 1970, WAS DISCUSSED IN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S CALL OF JUNE 8 TO THAT FIRM. ALTHOUGH WE HAVE OBSERVED IN PRIOR DECISIONS THAT THE REGULATIONS DO NOT SPECIFY THE MANNER BY WHICH OFFERORS ARE TO BE NOTIFIED OF THE CLOSING TIME OF NEGOTIATIONS, WE BELIEVE THAT A VERBAL NOTIFICATION TO SUBMIT A FINAL OFFER BY A CERTAIN TIME CONSTITUTES ADEQUATE ADVICE OF THE TIME FOR CLOSING OF NEGOTIATIONS AND JUSTIFIES THE REJECTION OF LATER PRICING REVISIONS. SEE B-167867, JANUARY 20, 1970.

WE AGREE WITH YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE BASIC QUESTION IN RESOLVING THE PROTEST IS WHETHER THE OFFERORS WERE NOTIFIED OF A SPECIFIED DATE FOR THE CLOSING OF NEGOTIATIONS. IT IS EVIDENT THAT IF THE CONTENTIONS AND AFFIDAVITS SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF THE PROTEST WERE TO PREVAIL, THE QUESTION WOULD REQUIRE A NEGATIVE ANSWER, AND IF THE STATEMENTS AND AFFIDAVITS SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S POSITION ARE ACCEPTED THE ANSWER MUST BE IN THE AFFIRMATIVE. WITH REGARD TO SUCH CONFLICTS, IT IS THE LONG-STANDING POLICY OF OUR OFFICE TO ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT IN RESOLVING DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY. SEE B 167705, FEBRUARY 12, 1970, WHEREIN WE STATED:

"WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT WHERE THERE ARE DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT, IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SUFFICIENTLY CONVINCING TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF THE CORRECTNESS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT, OUR OFFICE WILL ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT AS ACCURATELY REFLECTING THE DISPUTED FACTS. 42 COMP. GEN. 124 (1962); 41 ID. 47 (1961); 37 ID. 568 (1958)."

IN THIS CASE, YOUR EVIDENCE IS NOT REGARDED AS BEING SUFFICIENTLY CONVINCING TO OVERCOME THE STATEMENTS AND AFFIDAVITS SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S POSITION. ALTHOUGH YOU HAVE SUBMITTED AFFIDAVITS TO SUPPORT YOUR CONTENTIONS, SUCH AFFIDAVITS CONSTITUTE NO STRONGER EVIDENCE THAN THAT SUBMITTED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FAILED TO INFORM THE OFFERORS OF A SPECIFIC TIME BY WHICH FINAL OFFERS WERE TO BE SUBMITTED. ACCORDINGLY, THE PRESENT RECORD DOES NOT AFFORD US A PROPER BASIS FOR REJECTING THE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION THAT ALL OFFERORS WERE ADEQUATELY APPRISED ON JUNE 8 THAT 3:30 P.M., JUNE 12, 1970, WAS THE CLOSING TIME FOR NEGOTIATIONS. WHILE NEITHER THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S STATEMENTS OF THE FACTS NOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE AFFIDAVITS ADDRESS THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OFFERORS WERE INFORMED THAT PROPOSAL MODIFICATIONS RECEIVED AFTER JUNE 12 WOULD BE TREATED AS LATE PROPOSALS, WE DO NOT BELIEVE A DEFICIENCY IN THAT RESPECT SHOULD BE FATAL TO THE AWARD SINCE THAT TREATMENT OF SUCH PROPOSAL REVISIONS (IN THE ABSENCE OF A REOPENING OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH ALL OFFERORS) IS THE LOGICAL AND NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CUTOFF DATE FOR MODIFICATION OF PROPOSALS OR PRICE REVISIONS.

YOU CONTEND THAT ON JUNE 15, 1970, THE DEPOT'S PROCUREMENT AGENT TELEPHONED MR. THUM AND FURTHER NEGOTIATED WITH MR. THUM. WITH REGARD THERETO, A MEMORANDUM OF THAT TELEPHONE CONVERSATION REFLECTS THAT THIS WAS A TELEPHONE CALL FROM MR. THUM TO THE PROCUREMENT AGENT, AND THE MEMORANDUM FURTHER STATES THE FOLLOWING:

"MR. THUM CALLED TO INQUIRE AS TO HOW HIS PROPOSAL LOOKED AFTER HIS REDUCTION OF PRICE IN HIS WIRE OF 11 JUNE 1970.

"MR. THUM WAS ASKED IF THE REDUCTION INCLUDED THE COMPUTER SOFTWARE ELIMINATED AS A RESULT OF AMENDMENT #1. HE ADVISED THAT HE WOULD DOUBLE CHECK THIS ITEM TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL PROGRAM SOFTWARE HAD BEEN REMOVED EXCEPT THAT REQUIRED TO OPERATE THE RETRIEVER."

ON JUNE 16, 1970, IN RESPONSE TO THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION OF THE PRECEDING DAY, AS STATED ABOVE, THE PURCHASING AGENT RECEIVED A WIRE FROM PAGE REDUCING ITS PRICE BY $12,000 FOR THE DELETION OF THE PARTICULAR SOFTWARE. IN LIGHT OF THE REPORTED CONVERSATION OF JUNE 15 AND PAGE'S WIRE OF JUNE 16 IT SEEMS REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT PAGE EITHER UNDERSTOOD, OR SHOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD, THAT ANY PRICE REVISION WAS TO PERTAIN TO THE DELETION OF THE DISCUSSED SOFTWARE, AND THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS NOT REOPENING THE DOOR FOR GENERAL NEGOTIATIONS. SINCE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD EFFECTIVELY CLOSED NEGOTIATIONS AND FINAL PRICE REVISIONS AS OF JUNE 12, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT HE ACTED IMPROPERLY BY ACCEPTING EVEN PAGE'S LIMITED AND RESTRICTED PRICE REVISION OF JUNE 16 WITHOUT REOPENING NEGOTIATIONS AND OFFERING THE OTHER COMPETING FIRMS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO AMEND THEIR PRICES. AS STATED PREVIOUSLY, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTED THAT THE REVISION WAS ALLOWED SO THAT PAGE'S OFFER WOULD BE ON THE SAME REQUIREMENTS AS THE OTHER OFFERORS, AND SINCE THE ACTION WAS FOR PAGE'S BENEFIT IT IS APPARENT THAT SUCH FIRM WAS NOT PREJUDICED THEREBY. IT IS ALSO NOTED THAT THE RELATIVE STANDINGS OF THE OTHER OFFERORS WERE NOT AFFECTED BY THE REVISION.

REGARDING YOUR CONTENTION THAT NEGOTIATIONS WERE CONDUCTED WITH INTERLAKE AFTER JUNE 12, THE STATEMENTS BY INTERLAKE ALSO CONFLICT MATERIALLY IN SUCH RESPECT WITH THOSE OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. THEREFORE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR PREVIOUSLY CITED RULE, AND SINCE WE DO NOT FIND THE EVIDENCE SUFFICIENTLY CONVINCING TO OVERCOME THE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION THAT NEGOTIATIONS WERE NOT IN FACT CONDUCTED WITH INTERLAKE AFTER JUNE 12, WE MUST ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATIVE VERSION.

WE NOTE THAT YOU HAVE MADE NUMEROUS OTHER ARGUMENTS. HOWEVER, WE BELIEVE THAT THE BASIC ISSUES WHICH ARE DETERMINATIVE OF YOUR PROTEST ARE CONSIDERED HEREIN.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, AND SINCE IT IS OUR OPINION THAT IT WOULD BE IMPROPER, AFTER THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED IN A CONGRESSIONAL NOTIFICATION, TO ACCEPT A DOWNWARD PRICE REVISION FROM ANY OTHER OFFEROR, YOUR PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.