B-178032, JUN 26, 1973

B-178032: Jun 26, 1973

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THE PROCUREMENT IS FOR THE DESIGN. AS A RESULT YOU DID NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT TIME TO PREPARE A FULLY RESPONSIVE. THAT HE WAS ADVISED THAT IT WAS TOO LATE. THE SYNOPSIS OF THE PROCUREMENT WAS PUBLISHED IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY. PROSPECTIVE OFFERS WERE ADVISED THAT REQUESTS FOR COPIES OF THE RFQ SHOULD BE RECEIVED WITHIN 10 DAYS AND THAT THE SOLICITATION WOULD BE FURNISHED ON A FIRST-RECEIVED. FIRST SERVED BASIS SINCE THE SUPPLY WAS LIMITED. COPIES OF THE RFQ WERE MAILED TO 22 PROSPECTIVE OFFERORS. HE ADVISED YOUR FIRM AND 12 OTHER FIRMS THAT THEIR REQUESTS FOR THE RFQS WERE RECEIVED AFTER THE 10 -DAY PERIOD AND AFTER THE SUPPLY OF RFQS WAS EXHAUSTED. THAT A COPY WAS AVAILABLE FOR PERUSAL AT THE INSTALLATION.

B-178032, JUN 26, 1973

DENIAL OF PROTEST AGAINST ANY AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS NO. DAAK02-73-Q-1502, ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY MOBILITY EQUIPMENT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER, FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA.

TO E-SYSTEMS, INCORPORATED:

BY LETTER DATED APRIL 27, 1973, AND PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, YOU PROTESTED AGAINST ANY AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS (RFQ) NO. DAAK02-73-Q-1502, ISSUED JANUARY 9, 1973, BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY MOBILITY EQUIPMENT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER (USAMERDC), FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA.

THE PROCUREMENT IS FOR THE DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, TEST AND DELIVERY OF A LARGE AREA MOTION SENSOR (LAMS) WITH 30 PROTOTYPES. YOU CONTEND THAT, THROUGH A UNIQUE SERIES OF EVENTS, YOUR FIRM (MELPAR) DID NOT RECEIVE THE RFQ AT THE SAME TIME AS YOUR COMPETITION, AND AS A RESULT YOU DID NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT TIME TO PREPARE A FULLY RESPONSIVE, COMPETITIVE PROPOSAL. YOU REQUEST THAT THE PROCUREMENT BE REOPENED OR THAT THE SOLICITATION BE RESOLICITED IN ORDER TO PROVIDE YOUR FIRM WITH THE SAME AMOUNT OF PROPOSAL PREPARATION TIME AS THE INITIAL OFFERORS.

YOU REPORT THAT ON DECEMBER 15, 1972, CLAIR F. PARKER, JR., CHIEF ENGINEER OF MELPAR'S ORDNANCE ELECTRONICS DEPARTMENT, VISITED USAMERDC, DISCUSSED THE FORTHCOMING PROCUREMENT AND ASKED THAT MELPAR BE PLACED ON THE MAILING LIST FOR RFQS; THAT HE WAS ADVISED THAT IT WAS TOO LATE, BUT THAT IF MELPAR RESPONDED TO THE SYNOPSIS TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY, IT WOULD BE SENT A COPY OF THE RFQ.

ON JANUARY 3, 1973, THE SYNOPSIS OF THE PROCUREMENT WAS PUBLISHED IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY. PROSPECTIVE OFFERS WERE ADVISED THAT REQUESTS FOR COPIES OF THE RFQ SHOULD BE RECEIVED WITHIN 10 DAYS AND THAT THE SOLICITATION WOULD BE FURNISHED ON A FIRST-RECEIVED, FIRST SERVED BASIS SINCE THE SUPPLY WAS LIMITED.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTS THAT ON JANUARY 13, 1973, COPIES OF THE RFQ WERE MAILED TO 22 PROSPECTIVE OFFERORS, INCLUDING EIGHT FIRMS SUGGESTED BY THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY. BY LETTER DATED JANUARY 10, 1973, YOU REQUESTED A COPY OF THE SOLICITATION. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES THAT THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR LETTER UNTIL JANUARY 17, 1973, AND THAT BY LETTERS DATED JANUARY 23, 1973, HE ADVISED YOUR FIRM AND 12 OTHER FIRMS THAT THEIR REQUESTS FOR THE RFQS WERE RECEIVED AFTER THE 10 -DAY PERIOD AND AFTER THE SUPPLY OF RFQS WAS EXHAUSTED, BUT THAT A COPY WAS AVAILABLE FOR PERUSAL AT THE INSTALLATION. YOU RECEIVED THIS LETTER ON JANUARY 26, 1973. YOU THEN OBTAINED A XEROX COPY OF THE RFQ FROM THE BID BOARD ON JANUARY 29, 1973.

ON FEBRUARY 1, 1973, YOU REQUESTED AN EXTENSION OF THE FEBRUARY 13 DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS, BUT YOUR REQUEST WAS DENIED. FEBRUARY 13, 1973, EIGHT PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED. YOUR FIRM DID NOT SUBMIT A PROPOSAL, BUT YOU PROTESTED TO THE PROCURING AGENCY AND TO THIS OFFICE BY LETTERS OF FEBRUARY 13 AND 15, 1973, RESPECTIVELY.

WITH REGARD TO THE REASON WHY MELPAR WAS NOT PLACED ON THE MAILING LIST FOR THIS PROCUREMENT, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES THAT WHEN MR. PARKER OF MELPAR VISITED THE PROJECT ENGINEER HE WAS ADVISED THAT "SINCE THE REQUIREMENT HAD THEN, 15 DECEMBER 1972, BEEN FORWARDED TO R&D PROCUREMENT MR. PARKER SHOULD MAKE HIS REQUEST KNOWN TO R&D PROCUREMENT OR WAIT FOR THE SYNOPSIS." APPARENTLY YOUR FIRM DECIDED TO WAIT FOR THE SYNOPSIS. ANY EVENT, YOU REQUESTED A COPY OF THE RFQ BY LETTER DATED JANUARY 10, 1973. IN THIS CONNECTION, YOU POINT OUT THAT THE ISSUE DATE ON THE RFQ IS JANUARY 9, 1973, RATHER THAN JANUARY 13, 1973 (OR 10 DAYS AFTER THE PROCUREMENT WAS SYNOPSIZED). SINCE IT IS REPORTED THAT THE RFQ IN FACT WAS MAILED TO PROSPECTIVE OFFERORS ON JANUARY 13, WE ATTACH NO LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE TO THE DISCREPANCY IN THE RFQ ISSUE DATE.

EIGHT SOURCES WERE SUGGESTED BY THE REQUIRING ACTIVITY, AND 14 COPIES OF THE RFQ WERE AVAILABLE FOR DISTRIBUTION TO FIRMS RESPONDING TO THE SYNOPSIS. HOWEVER, 26 FIRMS RESPONDED, AND YOUR REQUEST FOR A COPY OF THE RFQ WAS RECEIVED AFTER THE 10-DAY PERIOD CITED IN THE SYNOPSIS AND AFTER THE SUPPLY OF RFQS WAS EXHAUSTED.

SECTION 2304(G) OF TITLE 10, U.S.C. REQUIRES THAT IN NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENTS PROPOSALS BE SOLICITED "*** FROM THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF QUALIFIED SOURCES CONSISTENT WITH THE NATURE AND REQUIREMENTS ***" OF THE PARTICULAR PROCUREMENT. HOWEVER, WE DO NOT THINK THAT THE REQUIREMENT FOR MAXIMUM COMPETITION OBLIGATES THE GOVERNMENT TO FURNISH UNLIMITED COPIES OF SOLICITATIONS TO PROSPECTIVE OFFERORS. AS STATED IN 50 COMP. GEN. 215, 219 (1970), "*** THE REQUIREMENT FOR MAXIMUM COMPETITION CONSISTENT WITH THE NATURE OF THE PROCUREMENT DOES NOT REQUIRE THE PURCHASING ACTIVITY TO SOLICIT AN EXCESSIVE NUMBER OF PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS. SUCH A REQUIREMENT WOULD BE COSTLY AND BURDENSOME TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THE PREPARATION, DISTRIBUTION, AND EVALUATION OF THE PROPOSALS." WE THINK THAT IN THE INSTANT CASE A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF RFQS WERE DISTRIBUTED TO POTENTIAL OFFERORS TO SATISFY THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENT.

WE NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT YOUR REQUEST FOR A COPY OF THE RFQ WAS RECEIVED ON JANUARY 17, 1973. NEVERTHELESS, YOU WERE NOT NOTIFIED UNTIL JANUARY 26, 1973, THAT YOUR REQUEST HAD BEEN RECEIVED LATE. WE BELIEVE THAT YOUR FIRM COULD HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE UNAVAILABILITY OF RFQS IN A MORE EXPEDITIOUS MANNER.

ALTHOUGH IT IS REGRETTABLE THAT YOU DID NOT RECEIVE A COPY OF THE RFQ IN SUFFICIENT TIME FOR YOU TO PREPARE A RESPONSIVE, COMPETITIVE PROPOSAL, SINCE THERE IS NO INDICATION OF ANY DELIBERATE INTENT TO EXCLUDE YOU FROM THE COMPETITION, WE DO NOT THINK THAT THE ARMY WAS OBLIGATED TO GRANT YOU ADDITIONAL TIME TO PREPARE A PROPOSAL. MOREOVER, SINCE 8 TIMELY OFFERS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE 22 RFQS, WE THINK THAT ADEQUATE COMPETITION WAS OBTAINED.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.