B-173428(1), AUG 16, 1971

B-173428(1): Aug 16, 1971

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PROTESTANT CONTENDS THAT THE PROCUREMENT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. AS A NEW PAGING SYSTEM WILL BE DEVELOPED IN A YEAR THAT WILL MAKE PRESENT MODELS OBSOLETE. THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PROCURING AGENCY AND SPECULATIVE ALLEGATIONS AS TO FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS IN A FIELD. WHICH WILL SUPPLANT THE RADIO PAGING SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT RADIO BROADCASTING IS PRESENTLY PROVIDING THE HOSPITAL ON A MONTH-TO-MONTH BASIS. YOU CONTEND THE PROCUREMENT IS CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST. WHICH WILL MAKE ALL CURRENT MODELS OUTMODED. WILL BECOME AVAILABLE WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR. YOU ALSO CONTEND THAT BECAUSE IT IS THE GOVERNMENT'S POLICY TO ASSURE THAT SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS ARE GIVEN A FAIR OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS THE PERIOD ALLOWED FOR THE COMPUTATION OF BIDS SHOULD HAVE BEEN LONGER THAN WAS ALLOWED SO THAT SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS WOULD HAVE HAD ADEQUATE TIME TO PREPARE THEIR BIDS.

B-173428(1), AUG 16, 1971

BID PROTEST - NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT - DETERMINATION DECISION DENYING PROTEST OF RADIO BROADCASTING CO. AGAINST AWARD OF CONTRACT TO MOTOROLA, INC. UNDER IFB ISSUED BY SUPPLY DIVISION, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, PHILADELPHIA, PA., FOR RADIO PAGING SYSTEM AND A TWO-WAY RADIO SYSTEM. PROTESTANT CONTENDS THAT THE PROCUREMENT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, AS A NEW PAGING SYSTEM WILL BE DEVELOPED IN A YEAR THAT WILL MAKE PRESENT MODELS OBSOLETE. THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PROCURING AGENCY AND SPECULATIVE ALLEGATIONS AS TO FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS IN A FIELD, MAY NOT BE THE BASIS OF UPSETTING SUCH A DETERMINATION.

TO SCHWARTZ & WOODS:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 28, 1971, PROTESTING ON BEHALF OF THE RADIO BROADCASTING CO. AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO MOTOROLA, INC., ON JUNE 24, 1971, UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 71-19, ISSUED BY THE SUPPLY DIVISION, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, PHILADELPHIA. THE INVITATION CONCERNS THE PROCUREMENT OF A RADIO PAGING SYSTEM AND A TWO-WAY RADIO SYSTEM FOR THE HOSPITAL, WHICH WILL SUPPLANT THE RADIO PAGING SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT RADIO BROADCASTING IS PRESENTLY PROVIDING THE HOSPITAL ON A MONTH-TO-MONTH BASIS.

YOU CONTEND THE PROCUREMENT IS CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST, BECAUSE, AS YOU ALLEGE, NEW AND IMPROVED RADIO PAGING EQUIPMENT, WHICH WILL MAKE ALL CURRENT MODELS OUTMODED, WILL BECOME AVAILABLE WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR. YOU ALSO CONTEND THAT BECAUSE IT IS THE GOVERNMENT'S POLICY TO ASSURE THAT SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS ARE GIVEN A FAIR OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS THE PERIOD ALLOWED FOR THE COMPUTATION OF BIDS SHOULD HAVE BEEN LONGER THAN WAS ALLOWED SO THAT SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS WOULD HAVE HAD ADEQUATE TIME TO PREPARE THEIR BIDS. YOU EMPHASIZE THAT ONLY ONE BID WAS RECEIVED BY THE PROCUREMENT ACTIVITY UNDER THIS INVITATION.

THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS DESIGNED TO MEET THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PROCUREMENT ACTIVITY. 47 COMP. GEN. 701, 704 (1968). WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IS IN CONTACT WITH MANUFACTURERS AS TO ANY NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THIS FIELD OF EQUIPMENT, AND THAT, CONSEQUENTLY, THE SPECIFICATIONS COVERING THE PRESENT PROCUREMENT ARE CURRENT AND BASED ON THE LATEST TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENTS. MOREOVER, THE PROCUREMENT ACTIVITY HAS DETERMINED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS IN QUESTION SUFFICIENTLY REFLECT ITS MINIMUM OR ACTUAL NEEDS. FOR THESE REASONS, WE ARE UNABLE TO AGREE THAT BECAUSE OF SPECULATIVE FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS IN THIS FIELD, THE PROCUREMENT OF THIS EQUIPMENT WAS CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

NOR CAN WE ACCEPT YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE PERIOD ALLOWED FOR THE COMPUTATION OF BIDS WAS TOO BRIEF. A PERIOD OF 17 DAYS BETWEEN ISSUANCE OF THE INVITATION ON JUNE 4 AND OPENING OF BIDS ON JUNE 21 WAS ALLOWED FOR THE COMPUTATION OF BIDS. SEE SECTION 1-2.202-1(C) OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS WHICH, AS A GENERAL RULE, REQUIRES A MINIMUM OF 15 CALENDAR DAYS WHEN STANDARD COMMERCIAL ARTICLES ARE BEING PROCURED. THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE NEITHER COMPLEX NOR RESTRICTIVE, AND COVER STANDARD COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE FROM NUMEROUS MANUFACTURERS. FURTHER, WE MUST NOTE THAT WHILE RADIO BROADCASTING ATTEMPTED TO CONVINCE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO RETAIN ITS SERVICES INSTEAD OF PROCURING THE EQUIPMENT, IT DID NOT PROTEST UNTIL THE DAY OF THE BID OPENING THAT INSUFFICIENT TIME WAS ALLOWED FOR COMPUTATION OF BIDS. ALTHOUGH YOU ALLEGE THAT RADIO BROADCASTING RECEIVED WORD OF THE PROPOSED PROCUREMENT ONLY A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE DATE OF BID OPENING, WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED BY THE PROCURING ACTIVITY THAT THE PROTESTANT WAS NOTIFIED OF THE INVITATION AT THE TIME OF ITS ISSUANCE AND WAS FURNISHED A COPY.

FINALLY, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT TO THE SOLE BIDDER WAS IMPROPER. THE INVITATION NEED NOT, AS YOU APPARENTLY SUGGEST, BE CANCELLED AND READVERTISED MERELY BECAUSE ONLY ONE BID WAS RECEIVED. CF. 50 COMP. GEN. (B-169813, SEPTEMBER 15, 1970) AND B 166679, JUNE 10, 1969, WHEREIN WE RECOGNIZE THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DECISION TO ACCEPT THE ONLY BID RECEIVED IS NOT NECESSARILY AN ABUSE OF HIS DISCRETION, IF THE BID PRICE IS REASONABLE. HERE, WE NOTE THAT YOU HAVE NOT QUESTIONED THE REASONABLENESS OF MOTOROLA'S $36,517 BID PRICE. FURTHER, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THE BID PRICE TO BE REASONABLE IN LIGHT OF A $38,124 ESTIMATE PREPARED BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION'S COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE. WE ARE UNABLE TO DISAGREE WITH THIS CONCLUSION.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.