B-175703(2), JUL 25, 1972

B-175703(2): Jul 25, 1972

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SUGGESTS THAT IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO THE ASSIGNMENT OF PREAWARD SURVEY TEAM MEMBERS WHO HAVE NO CONNECTION WITH FACILITIES WHICH ARE IN COMPETITION WITH THE CONCERN OR FACILITY BEING SURVEYED. SECRETARY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JUNE 1. ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO BERMITE. IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION. IN MAKING HIS DETERMINATION THAT BERMITE WAS A NONRESPONSIBLE OFFEROR FOR PURPOSES OF THE INSTANT PROCUREMENT. TWO MEMBERS OF WHICH WERE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO THE AMMUNITION TECHNOLOGY DIVISION (ATD) LOCATED AT LAKE CITY ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT (LCAAP). THE CONTRACT AWARD IN THE INSTANT CASE EVENTUALLY WAS MADE TO LCAAP.

B-175703(2), JUL 25, 1972

PREAWARD SURVEY TEAMS - COMPOSITION - POSSIBLE BIAS LETTER ENCLOSING COPY OF DECISION OF TODAY TO BERMITE DIVISION OF TASKER INDUSTRIES DENYING THEIR PROTEST UNDER AN RFP ISSUED BY FRANKFORD ARSENAL, PA. ALTHOUGH THIS PROTEST HAS BEEN DENIED, THE COMP. GEN. SUGGESTS THAT IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO THE ASSIGNMENT OF PREAWARD SURVEY TEAM MEMBERS WHO HAVE NO CONNECTION WITH FACILITIES WHICH ARE IN COMPETITION WITH THE CONCERN OR FACILITY BEING SURVEYED.

TO MR. SECRETARY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JUNE 1, 1972, FROM THE DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL, ARMY MATERIEL COMMAND, FURNISHING A REPORT CONCERNING THE PROTEST OF BERMITE DIVISION OF TASKER INDUSTRIES (BERMITE), UNDER RFP DAAA25-72-R- 0178, ISSUED BY FRANKFORD ARSENAL, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA.

ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO BERMITE, DENYING ITS PROTEST. YOUR ATTENTION, HOWEVER, IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION.

IN MAKING HIS DETERMINATION THAT BERMITE WAS A NONRESPONSIBLE OFFEROR FOR PURPOSES OF THE INSTANT PROCUREMENT, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER RELIED UPON A NEGATIVE REPORT FROM A PREAWARD SURVEY TEAM, TWO MEMBERS OF WHICH WERE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO THE AMMUNITION TECHNOLOGY DIVISION (ATD) LOCATED AT LAKE CITY ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT (LCAAP). THE CONTRACT AWARD IN THE INSTANT CASE EVENTUALLY WAS MADE TO LCAAP. ONE BASIS UPON WHICH BERMITE ALLEGES THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION OF NONRESPONSIBILITY IS ERRONEOUS IS THAT THE TWO ATD PREAWARD SURVEY TEAM MEMBERS WERE BIASED IN FAVOR OF LCAAP AND IMPOSED THEIR BIAS UPON THE OTHER TEAM MEMBERS. WE FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF RECORD WHICH WOULD SUPPORT THIS ALLEGATION.

HOWEVER, IN OUR DECISION REPORTED AT 51 COMP. GEN. (B-174455, MARCH 22, 1972), INVOLVING A SIMILAR SITUATION, WE EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT:

"*** WHEN APPOINTMENTS TO SURVEY TEAMS ARE MADE, EXTRAORDINARY CARE SHOULD BE USED TO PRECLUDE ANY POSSIBLE BASIS FOR USING THE APPOINTMENT ACTION AS A GROUND FOR A SUBSEQUENT COMPLAINT IN THE EVENT OF AN ADVERSE SURVEY ACTION. WHILE THE RECORD DOES NOT REFLECT WHETHER IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PRACTICABLE TO ASSIGN SURVEY TEAM MEMBERS TO THE (PROTESTANT'S) SURVEY WHO HAD NO CONNECTION WITH (THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR), WE BELIEVE SUCH A PROCEDURE WOULD BE DESIRABLE AS A GENERAL RULE IN THE SELECTION OF SURVEY TEAMS, AND WE SUGGEST THAT CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO THE PRACTICABILITY OF ADOPTING THIS PROCEDURE ***."

THE REPORT FURNISHED OUR OFFICE BY YOUR DEPARTMENT INDICATES THAT THERE ARE INDIVIDUALS AT FRANKFORD ARSENAL WHO ARE QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE ATD PREAWARD SURVEY TEAM MEMBERS. THE APPOINTMENT OF THESE INDIVIDUALS, OR OTHERS EQUALLY QUALIFIED FROM AN ACTIVITY OTHER THAN ATD, TO THE PREAWARD SURVEY TEAM IN THE INSTANT CASE WOULD HAVE PRECLUDED THE ALLEGATION OF BIAS MADE BY BERMITE. THEREFORE, WE SUGGEST THAT IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO THE ASSIGNMENT OF PREAWARD SURVEY TEAM MEMBERS WHO HAVE NO CONNECTION WITH FACILITIES WHICH ARE IN COMPETITION WITH THE CONCERN OR FACILITY BEING SURVEYED.

THE ENCLOSURES TO THE LETTER OF JUNE 1 ARE RETURNED.