B-176734(1), DEC 5, 1972

B-176734(1): Dec 5, 1972

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WHILE THE FAILURE TO SOLICIT ADDITIONAL SOURCES WAS CONTRARY TO THE MANDATE OF FPR 1-1.301-1 THAT ALL PROCUREMENTS BE MADE ON A COMPETITIVE BASIS TO THE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE EXTENT. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS JUSTIFIED IN CONCLUDING THAT TERMINATION OF THE CONTRACT WAS NOT IN THE GOVERNMENT'S BEST INTERESTS. TO SCITRAN: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED AUGUST 10. THE SUBJECT CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED WITH LEO KANNER ASSOCIATES (KANNER) AND REQUIRED THE FURNISHING OF LANGUAGE TRANSLATING AND INTERPRETING SERVICES INCIDENT TO A CONFERENCE FOR AN ADVANCED HEALTH PROJECT OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE CHALLENGES OF MODERN SOCIETY (CCMS) OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO). IT IS CONTENDED THAT YOUR FIRM SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMPETE FOR THE SUBJECT CONTRACT AS SCITRAN CURRENTLY HOLDS SEVEN CONTRACTS WITH VARIOUS OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES AND COULD HAVE COMPETENTLY DONE THE WORK UNDER THE INSTANT CONTRACT.

B-176734(1), DEC 5, 1972

SOLE-SOURCE PROCUREMENT PROTEST - FAILURE TO SOLICIT ADDITIONAL SOURCES DECISION CONCERNING THE PROTEST OF SCITRAN, AGAINST THE SOLE-SOURCE PROCUREMENT BY THE HEALTH SERVICES AND MENTAL HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE FOR LANGUAGE TRANSLATING AND INTERPRETING SERVICES. WHILE THE FAILURE TO SOLICIT ADDITIONAL SOURCES WAS CONTRARY TO THE MANDATE OF FPR 1-1.301-1 THAT ALL PROCUREMENTS BE MADE ON A COMPETITIVE BASIS TO THE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE EXTENT, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS JUSTIFIED IN CONCLUDING THAT TERMINATION OF THE CONTRACT WAS NOT IN THE GOVERNMENT'S BEST INTERESTS.

TO SCITRAN:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED AUGUST 10, 1972, PROTESTING AGAINST THE SOLE-SOURCE PROCUREMENT BY THE HEALTH SERVICES AND MENTAL HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (HSMHA), DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE, OF LANGUAGE TRANSLATING AND INTERPRETING SERVICES, AND REQUESTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMPETE FOR SIMILAR PROCUREMENTS.

THE SUBJECT CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED WITH LEO KANNER ASSOCIATES (KANNER) AND REQUIRED THE FURNISHING OF LANGUAGE TRANSLATING AND INTERPRETING SERVICES INCIDENT TO A CONFERENCE FOR AN ADVANCED HEALTH PROJECT OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE CHALLENGES OF MODERN SOCIETY (CCMS) OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO), SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 16 19, 1972.

BRIEFLY, IT IS CONTENDED THAT YOUR FIRM SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMPETE FOR THE SUBJECT CONTRACT AS SCITRAN CURRENTLY HOLDS SEVEN CONTRACTS WITH VARIOUS OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES AND COULD HAVE COMPETENTLY DONE THE WORK UNDER THE INSTANT CONTRACT.

IT IS REPORTED THAT ON JULY 24, 1972, THE HSMHA PROCUREMENT BRANCH RECEIVED A REQUEST FROM THE HSMHA OFFICE OF SPECIAL PROJECTS FOR PROCUREMENT OF THESE SERVICES. IT WAS IMMEDIATELY NOTED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO BEGIN MAILING MATERIALS TO THE PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTOR BY AUGUST 5, 1972, IN ORDER TO ASSURE THAT THE FIRST 100 PAGES OF TRANSLATED MATERIAL WAS COMPLETED BY THE REQUIRED DATE OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1972. BECAUSE OF THESE TIME CONSTRAINTS, AND INFORMATION FROM THE PROJECT OFFICER THAT LEO KANNER WAS THE ONLY SOURCE IN A POSITION AT THAT TIME TO PERFORM THE REQUIRED SERVICES, A SOLE-SOURCE JUSTIFICATION WAS APPROVED BY THE CHIEF, PROCUREMENT BRANCH, ON JULY 25, 1972. NEGOTIATIONS WERE COMPLETED WITH KANNER ON JULY 28, AND A CONTRACT AWARDED ON JULY 31, 1972.

AFTER YOUR PROTEST WAS FILED ON AUGUST 10, 1972, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER OBTAINED A REPORT FROM THE PROJECT OFFICER AS TO THE EVENTS PRECEDING THE REQUEST FOR THE PROCUREMENT. THE BACKGROUND INFORMATION IN THIS REPORT SHOWS THAT THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL STUDIES WAS GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS PROCUREMENT AS A RESULT OF A DIRECTIVE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. THE WHITE HOUSE COORDINATOR FOR CCMS ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDED CONTRACTING WITH KANNER BASED UPON SATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE OF SIMILAR SERVICES IN THE PAST. THEREFORE, THE PROJECT OFFICER HAD CONTACTED KANNER AND CONDUCTED PRELIMINARY NEGOTIATIONS BEFORE THE REQUEST FOR THE PROCUREMENT WAS SENT TO THE PROCUREMENT BRANCH. ALTHOUGH IT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY RECOGNIZED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE SOLE-SOURCE PROCUREMENT WAS NOT JUSTIFIED, SHE DETERMINED THAT IT WOULD NOT BE IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST TO TERMINATE THE CONTRACT AS PERFORMANCE HAD BEGUN, THE FIRST DELIVERY WAS DUE ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1972, AND THE CONTRACT HAD TO BE COMPLETED IN TIME TO SUPPORT A CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 16 TO 19, 1972.

IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT THE FIRST CONTACT WAS MADE WITH KANNER ON JUNE 16, 1972, WITH AWARD OF THE CONTRACT ON JULY 31, 1972. THIS PERIOD OF TIME WOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TO ALLOW FOR SOLICITATIONS FROM OTHER SOURCES, AS IS NOW CONCEDED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND THE DIRECTOR OF PROCUREMENT AND MATERIEL MANAGEMENT. WHILE THE FAILURE TO SOLICIT ADDITIONAL SOURCES WAS CONTRARY TO THE MANDATE OF SECTION 1-1.301-1 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS THAT ALL PROCUREMENTS BE MADE ON A COMPETITIVE BASIS TO THE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE EXTENT, WE BELIEVE THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS JUSTIFIED IN CONCLUDING THAT TERMINATION OF THE CONTRACT WAS NOT IN THE GOVERNMENT'S BEST INTERESTS.

HOWEVER, WE ARE ADVISED BY THE DIRECTOR THAT THE NECESSITY FOR OBTAINING COMPETITION IN PROCUREMENT WHENEVER PRACTICAL AND FEASIBLE IS CURRENTLY RECEIVING RENEWED EMPHASIS IN THE DEPARTMENT. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE TRUST THAT YOUR FIRM WILL BE AFFORDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON SIMILAR PROCUREMENTS BY HEW IN THE FUTURE.