B-173765, NOV 18, 1971

B-173765: Nov 18, 1971

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SERVICES WERE PERFORMED AT THE REQUEST OF AN OEO EMPLOYEE WHO WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT. BECAUSE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD KNOWLEDGE THAT THE SERVICES WERE STILL BEING PERFORMED AND HIS INDICATION THAT HE WOULD HAVE EXTENDED THE CONTRACT IF REQUESTED TO DO SO (WHICH CONSTITUTED RATIFICATION) AND AS THE GOVERNMENT OBTAINED THE BENEFIT OF THE SERVICES. WHITE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 27. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE MAINTENANCE SERVICES WERE PERFORMED FOR A PERIOD OF FIVE AND A HALF MONTHS AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE MAINTENANCE CONTRACT ENTERED INTO BY REC AND THE OFFICE OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY (OEO). THE RECORD INDICATES FURTHER THAT THE SERVICES WERE PERFORMED AT THE REQUEST OF AN OEO EMPLOYEE WHO WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT.

B-173765, NOV 18, 1971

CONTRACTS - CONTRACT EXPIRATION - UNAUTHORIZED WORK - QUANTUM MERUIT DECISION AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF $9,166.67 TO RESPONSIVE ENVIRONMENTS CORPORATION (REC) FOR MAINTENANCE OF TEN EDISON RESPONSIVE ENVIRONMENT MACHINES. FOLLOWING EXPIRATION OF A MAINTENANCE SERVICE CONTRACT BETWEEN OEO AND REC, SERVICES WERE PERFORMED AT THE REQUEST OF AN OEO EMPLOYEE WHO WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT. BECAUSE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD KNOWLEDGE THAT THE SERVICES WERE STILL BEING PERFORMED AND HIS INDICATION THAT HE WOULD HAVE EXTENDED THE CONTRACT IF REQUESTED TO DO SO (WHICH CONSTITUTED RATIFICATION) AND AS THE GOVERNMENT OBTAINED THE BENEFIT OF THE SERVICES, PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ON A QUANTUM MERUIT BASIS.

TO MR. REGINALD J. WHITE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 27, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING DECISION WITH RESPECT TO PAYMENT OF A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF RESPONSIVE ENVIRONMENTS CORPORATION (REC) IN THE AMOUNT OF $9,166.67 FOR MAINTENANCE OF TEN EDISON RESPONSIVE ENVIRONMENT (ERE) MACHINES.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE MAINTENANCE SERVICES WERE PERFORMED FOR A PERIOD OF FIVE AND A HALF MONTHS AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE MAINTENANCE CONTRACT ENTERED INTO BY REC AND THE OFFICE OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY (OEO). THE RECORD INDICATES FURTHER THAT THE SERVICES WERE PERFORMED AT THE REQUEST OF AN OEO EMPLOYEE WHO WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU REQUEST A DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT MAY BE MADE FOR THE SERVICES PERFORMED AFTER EXPIRATION OF THE CONTRACT.

AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF A CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES IS THE EXISTENCE OF ACTUAL AUTHORITY ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT AGENT TO CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES. IF THE AGENT LACKS SUCH AUTHORITY NO VALID CONTRACT CAN EXIST AND PAYMENT MUST BE DENIED FOR SERVICES RENDERED AT THE REQUEST OF THE UNAUTHORIZED AGENT. HOWEVER, OUR OFFICE HAS RECOGNIZED THAT IN APPROPRIATE CIRCUMSTANCES PAYMENT MAY BE MADE FOR SERVICES RENDERED ON A QUANTUM MERUIT BASIS (THE REASONABLE VALUE OF THE WORK AND LABOR), OR FOR GOODS FURNISHED ON A QUANTUM VALEBAT BASIS (THE REASONABLE VALUE OF GOODS SOLD AND DELIVERED). BEFORE A RIGHT TO PAYMENT UNDER SUCH BASES MAY BE RECOGNIZED IT MUST BE SHOWN: (1) THE GOVERNMENT HAS RECEIVED A BENEFIT; AND (2) THAT THE UNAUTHORIZED SERVICES WERE EXPRESSLY OR IMPLICITLY RATIFIED BY AUTHORIZED CONTRACTING OFFICIALS OF THE GOVERNMENT. B-164087, JULY 1, 1968.

WE HAVE ASCERTAINED INFORMALLY FROM THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WHO PREVIOUSLY EXTENDED THE CONTRACT THAT HE WOULD HAVE ISSUED AN EXTENSION FOR THE LAST PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE HAD HE BEEN REQUESTED BY THE PROJECT OFFICER. HE STATED THAT HE HAD HEARD THAT REC WAS PERFORMING MAINTENANCE SERVICE AFTER THE CONTRACT HAD EXPIRED BUT AS HE HAD HEARD NOTHING FURTHER PRESUMED THAT THE WORK HAD STOPPED OR THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAD TAKEN CARE OF THE MATTER.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S KNOWLEDGE THAT THE SERVICES WERE BEING PERFORMED BY REC AND HIS INDICATION THAT HE WOULD HAVE EXTENDED THE PERIOD OF CONTRACT PERFORMANCE IF REQUESTED TO DO SO CONSTITUTE RATIFICATION OF THE SERVICES AND, AS THE GOVERNMENT OBTAINED THE BENEFIT OF THE SERVICES, PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE ON A QUANTUM MERUIT BASIS. SEE B-151632, JULY 9, 1963.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $9,166.67, AN AMOUNT REPRESENTING THE REASONABLE VALUE OF THE SERVICES RENDERED.