B-177008, JAN 31, 1973, 52 COMP GEN 466

B-177008: Jan 31, 1973

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THE REQUIREMENT THAT ENGINEERS HAVE A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE RESULTED IN THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO OTHER THAN THE LOW OFFEROR AT A SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN PRICE TO THE GOVERNMENT. WHICH INDICATES THAT THE MANNER AND EXTENT OF THE DISCUSSIONS OF PROPOSALS WITH OFFERORS IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE WERE NOT CONDUCIVE TO OBTAINING MAXIMUM COMPETITION. ONE OF THE PRIMARY PURPOSES OF CONDUCTING NEGOTIATIONS WITH OFFERORS IS TO RAISE TO AN ACCEPTABLE STATUS THOSE PROPOSALS WHICH ARE CAPABLE OF BEING MADE ACCEPTABLE. IT IS INCUMBENT UPON GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATORS TO BE AS SPECIFIC AS PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS WILL PERMIT IN ADVISING OFFERORS OF THE CORRECTIONS REQUIRED IN THEIR PROPOSALS. THE BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE REQUIREMENT SHOULD BE RECONSIDERED BEFORE IT IS INCLUDED IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS.

B-177008, JAN 31, 1973, 52 COMP GEN 466

CONTRACTS - NEGOTIATION - COMPETITION - DISCUSSION WITH ALL OFFERORS - FAILURE TO DISCUSS THE FAILURE TO CALL IN OFFERORS IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE FOR DETAILED DISCUSSIONS OF SPECIFIC DEFICIENCIES IN THEIR PROPOSALS, AND THE REQUIREMENT THAT ENGINEERS HAVE A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE RESULTED IN THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO OTHER THAN THE LOW OFFEROR AT A SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN PRICE TO THE GOVERNMENT, WHICH INDICATES THAT THE MANNER AND EXTENT OF THE DISCUSSIONS OF PROPOSALS WITH OFFERORS IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE WERE NOT CONDUCIVE TO OBTAINING MAXIMUM COMPETITION. ONE OF THE PRIMARY PURPOSES OF CONDUCTING NEGOTIATIONS WITH OFFERORS IS TO RAISE TO AN ACCEPTABLE STATUS THOSE PROPOSALS WHICH ARE CAPABLE OF BEING MADE ACCEPTABLE, AND THEREBY INCREASE COMPETITION, AND IT IS INCUMBENT UPON GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATORS TO BE AS SPECIFIC AS PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS WILL PERMIT IN ADVISING OFFERORS OF THE CORRECTIONS REQUIRED IN THEIR PROPOSALS. FURTHERMORE, THE BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE REQUIREMENT SHOULD BE RECONSIDERED BEFORE IT IS INCLUDED IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, JANUARY 31, 1973:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 27, 1972, REFERENCE SUP 02E, FROM CAPTAIN G. G. DUNN, DEPUTY COMMANDER, PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT, NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND, FURNISHING US A REPORT IN CONNECTION WITH A PROTEST BY GLOBAL MARINE ENGINEERING COMPANY (GLOBAL) AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL N00123-72-R-2869, ISSUED BY THE U.S. NAVAL REGIONAL PROCUREMENT OFFICE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.

ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO GLOBAL. ALTHOUGH WE HAVE DENIED THE PROTEST WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE RECORD DEMONSTRATES THAT THE MANNER AND EXTENT OF THE DISCUSSIONS OF PROPOSALS WITH THOSE OFFERORS IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE WERE CONDUCIVE TO OBTAINING MAXIMUM COMPETITION IN THE FINAL OFFERS.

IN ITS COMMENTS ON THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S STATEMENT OF OCTOBER 13, 1972, GLOBAL STATES:

FURTHER, IN THE REFERENCED PARAGRAPH (PARAGRAPH 3) THE PHRASE "... AS DISCUSSED DURING NEGOTIATIONS ... " IS USED. IT IS RESPECTFULLY POINTED OUT THAT THE NEGOTIATIONS CONDUCTED WITH GMEC DURING THE PROPOSAL EVALUATION PHASE CONSISTED OF LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS FROM MISS E. LEVENSON (CODE 0S5), NRPOLA, IN WHICH THE UNDERSIGNED WAS GIVEN ADVANCED BRIEFINGS ON THE CONTEXT AND REQUIREMENTS OF FORTHCOMING CORRESPONDENCE REQUESTING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. GMEC WAS NOT GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO NEGOTIATE IN CONFERENCE ON ANY OF THE POINTS CONSIDERED BY THE PROPOSAL EVALUATORS TO BE QUESTIONABLE OR UNRESPONSIVE. IN PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT CONTRACT PRE-AWARD PHASES WITH NRPOLA, NRPO, OAKLAND, AND OTHERS, GLOBAL MARINE WAS INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN CONVENTIONAL NEGOTIATIONS. BELIEVE THAT HAD NEGOTIATIONS BEEN AVAILABLE UNDER THIS RFP, THE PROPOSAL EVALUATION MIGHT HAVE PRODUCED OTHER RESULTS.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT FURNISHED THIS OFFICE DOES NOT CONTAIN MEMORANDA OF THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN GLOBAL AND THE PROCURING ACTIVITY; HOWEVER, THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT THE PROTESTER AND OTHER OFFERORS WERE ADVISED OF THE SPECIFIC DEFICIENCIES IN THEIR PROPOSALS, SUCH AS THE INADEQUACY OF A NATIONAL CERTIFICATE FOR THE ENGINEERS.

WE NOTE THAT THREE OF THE FIVE FINAL PROPOSALS WERE EVALUATED AS UNACCEPTABLE FOR LACK OF PERSONNEL QUALIFICATIONS. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTS:

IN THE FINAL EVALUATION OF REVISED PROPOSALS, OTHER PROPOSERS WERE DETERMINED TO HAVE PROPOSED PERSONNEL WHO LACKED THE REQUIRED BACKGROUND FOR ELECTRONICS ENGINEER, ELECTRONICS ENGINEER TECHNICIAN, SENIOR ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS DRAFTSMEN AND ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS DRAFTSMEN, THE MECHANICAL, ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS ENGINEER, THE SENIOR ELECTRONICS ENGINEER, THE SENIOR MECHANICAL TECHNICIAN AND DRAFTSMAN, THE SENIOR ELECTRICAL DRAFTSMAN, THE ELECTRONICS DRAFTSMAN AND WERE DISQUALIFIED FOR FAILURE TO MEET THE EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS.

SINCE ONE OF THE PRIMARY PURPOSES OF CONDUCTING NEGOTIATIONS WITH OFFERORS IS TO RAISE TO AN ACCEPTABLE STATUS THOSE PROPOSALS WHICH ARE CAPABLE OF BEING MADE ACCEPTABLE, AND THEREBY INCREASE COMPETITION FOR THE PROCUREMENT, WE BELIEVE IT IS INCUMBENT UPON GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATORS TO BE AS SPECIFIC AS PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS WILL PERMIT IN ADVISING OFFERORS OF THE CORRECTIONS REQUIRED IN THEIR PROPOSALS. IN VIEW OF THE SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE EVALUATED AMOUNTS OF GLOBAL'S OFFER AND THE AWARD PRICE ($388,073 V. $635,600), WE DO NOT FIND THE RECORD PERSUASIVE THAT SAVINGS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN EFFECTED IN THE PROCUREMENT HAD THOSE OFFERORS IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE BEEN CALLED IN FOR DETAILED DISCUSSIONS OF THE DEFECTS IN THEIR PROPOSALS.

REGARDING THE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION THAT A BRITISH NATIONAL CERTIFICATE IS NOT ADEQUATE FOR ENGINEERS TO BE EMPLOYED IN THE WORK, THE PROTESTER STATES:

CONTRARY TO THE STATEMENTS OF PARAGRAPH 4, GMEC'S PROTEST LETTER DOES NOT STATE THAT THE NATIONAL CERTIFICATE IS THE EQUIVALENT OF A BACHELORS DEGREE IN ENGINEERING. IT DOES STATE (AND WE DO MAINTAIN) THAT THE NATIONAL CERTIFICATE IS THE "TECHNICAL EQUIVALENT" OF THE BACHELORS DEGREE. IT MUST BE POINTED OUT THAT MARINE ENGINEERS EDUCATED IN GREAT BRITAIN AND POSSESSING DEGREES NO HIGHER THAN THE NATIONAL CERTIFICATE HOLD FULLY RESPONSIBLE ENGINEERING POSITIONS THROUGHOUT THE U.S. SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY. FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE MACHINERY GROUP PERFORMING ENGINEERING DESIGN AT NATIONAL STEEL AND SHIPBUILDING COMPANY IN SAN DIEGO THERE WERE EIGHT ACTIVE SUPERVISORY AND ASSISTANT SUPERVISORY POSITIONS DURING THE NEW CONSTRUCTION DESIGN PHASE OF THE U.S. NAVY LST1182 CLASS VESSELS. OF THESE, THREE WERE FILLED BY ENGINEERS, INCLUDING MR. BRODIE, WHO HELD DEGREES NO HIGHER THAN THE BRITISH NATIONAL CERTIFICATE. THE LST1182 CLASS SHIP DESIGNS WERE UNDER THE TECHNICAL COGNIZANCE OF SUPSHIP11ND AND SUBJECT TO THE SAME MILITARY DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS AS ARE THE CONVERSION AND REPAIR DESIGNS UNDER THE CONTRACT DISCUSSED HERE.

WE SUBMIT ATTACHMENT 1 TO DEMONSTRATE THAT MR. BRODIE'S ENGINEERING EDUCATION IS TECHNICALLY EQUIVALENT, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES, TO THAT REQUIRED FOR THE BSME DEGREE AWARDED BY THE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY (CSU) AT SAN DIEGO. CSU AT SAN DIEGO IS WIDELY RECOGNIZED FOR ITS TRAINING IN PRACTICAL, OR APPLIED, ENGINEERING, WHEREAS THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT SAN DIEGO (UCSD) EMPHASIZES THE SCIENCES RATHER THAN APPLIED ENGINEERING. UCSD'S UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM LEADS TO THE BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE IN ENGINEERING SCIENCES; THE BSME DEGREE IS NOT AVAILABLE AT UCSD. WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY (OR HOW) ACCEPTANCE FOR ADMITTANCE INTO A GRADUATE SCHOOL, PARTICULARLY ONE THAT DOES NOT OFFER THE BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, CAN BE CONSTRUED TO BE A MEANINGFUL CRITERION FOR THE CAPABILITY TO PREPARE ENGINEERING DESIGNS FOR REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS TO U.S. NAVY SHIPS.

IN VIEW OF SUCH STATEMENT IT APPEARS THAT A REVIEW OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE MAY BE WARRANTED BEFORE THAT REQUIREMENT IS INCLUDED AS A MINIMUM EDUCATIONAL FACTOR FOR ENGINEERS IN ANY FUTURE PROCUREMENTS OF THIS NATURE.

THE FILE TRANSMITTED WITH CAPTAIN DUNN'S LETTER OF OCTOBER 27 IS RETURNED.