B-181240, SEP 4, 1974

B-181240: Sep 4, 1974

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WHERE ON THE BASIS OF NEGATIVE PREAWARD SURVEY LOW BIDDER IS DETERMINED NONRESPONSIBLE. CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED SINCE THERE HAS BEEN NO SHOWING IT WAS REACHED IN BAD FAITH OR WITHOUT REASONABLE BASIS. 2. FACT THAT SAME BIDDER HOLDS ANOTHER CONTRACT FOR SAME KIND OF ITEM IS NOT PERSUASIVE AS TO RESPONSIBILITY SINCE RESPONSIBILITY DETERMINATION IS JUDGMENTAL IN NATURE AND REASONABLE CONTRACTING OFFICERS CAN DIFFER ON SAME INFORMATION. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT HYDROMATICS WAS NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. BECAUSE THE AMOUNT OF THE BID WAS LESS THAN $10. HYDROMATICS POINTS TO THE FACT THAT IT IS PRODUCING THE SAME ITEM UNDER ANOTHER DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY (DSA) CONTRACT (DSA700-74-DA-KF045) AS PERSUASIVE OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY.

B-181240, SEP 4, 1974

1. WHERE ON THE BASIS OF NEGATIVE PREAWARD SURVEY LOW BIDDER IS DETERMINED NONRESPONSIBLE, CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED SINCE THERE HAS BEEN NO SHOWING IT WAS REACHED IN BAD FAITH OR WITHOUT REASONABLE BASIS. 2. FACT THAT SAME BIDDER HOLDS ANOTHER CONTRACT FOR SAME KIND OF ITEM IS NOT PERSUASIVE AS TO RESPONSIBILITY SINCE RESPONSIBILITY DETERMINATION IS JUDGMENTAL IN NATURE AND REASONABLE CONTRACTING OFFICERS CAN DIFFER ON SAME INFORMATION.

HYDROMATICS INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION:

THIS DECISION CONCERNS THE REJECTION OF A BID SUBMITTED BY HYDROMATICS INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION (HYDROMATICS), IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) DSA700-74-B-2294, ISSUED BY THE DEFENSE CONSTRUCTION SUPPLY CENTER (DCSC), COLUMBUS, OHIO, FOR TWO TYPES OF SPRAYER PLATES, FEDERAL STOCK NUMBERS (FSN) 4530-00-276-7629 AND 9844.

HYDROMATICS SUBMITTED THE LOWEST OF THE SEVEN BIDS RECEIVED. THE PREAWARD SURVEY CONDUCTED ON HYDROMATICS RECOMMENDED "NO AWARD" DUE TO UNSATISFACTORY FINDINGS IN THE AREAS OF PRODUCTION CAPABILITY, PLANT FACILITIES, EQUIPMENT, PURCHASING AND SUBCONTRACTING, LABOR RESOURCES, PERFORMANCE RECORD, AND ABILITY TO MEET THE REQUIRED DELIVERY SCHEDULE. BASED ON THIS NEGATIVE PREAWARD SURVEY, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT HYDROMATICS WAS NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. BECAUSE THE AMOUNT OF THE BID WAS LESS THAN $10,000, IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION 1-705.4(C), THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CHOSE NOT TO REFER ITS MATTER OF HYDROMATICS' RESPONSIBILITY TO THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, AND AWARDED THE CONTRACT TO THE NEXT LOW BIDDER. HYDROMATICS THEREAFTER FILED THIS PROTEST WITH OUR OFFICE.

HYDROMATICS POINTS TO THE FACT THAT IT IS PRODUCING THE SAME ITEM UNDER ANOTHER DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY (DSA) CONTRACT (DSA700-74-DA-KF045) AS PERSUASIVE OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY. WHILE THE ITEM UNDER PRODUCTION IS SIMILAR TO THESE SPRAYER PLATES, IT IS NOT IDENTICAL (FSN 4530-00 276- 9893). MOREOVER, DELIVERIES UNDER THE DSA CONTRACT -KF045 WERE LATE AND HAD NOT BEEN MADE AS OF THE TIME OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION. THESE FACTS WERE CONSIDERED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IN DETERMINING HYDROMATICS NONRESPONSIBLE. WHILE ANOTHER CONTRACTING OFFICER DID FIND HYDROMATICS RESPONSIBLE IN AWARDING CONTRACT -KF045, HE DID NOT HAVE THE BENEFIT OF HYDROMATICS' DELINQUENT DELIVERIES TO CONSIDER. EVEN ON THE BASIS OF THE SAME INFORMATION, REASONABLE CONTRACTING OFFICERS MAY PROPERLY REACH DIFFERENT CONCLUSIONS AS TO A PARTICULAR BIDDER'S RESPONSIBILITY SINCE THE DETERMINATION OF RESPONSIBILITY IS JUDGMENTAL. -171381(1), JUNE 3, 1971.

OUR OFFICE HAS CONSISTENTLY RECOGNIZED THAT THE PROJECTION OF A BIDDER'S ABILITY TO PERFORM, IF AWARDED A CONTRACT, MUST PROPERLY BE LEFT LARGELY TO THE SOUND ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICES INVOLVED SINCE THEY ARE IN THE BEST POSITION TO ASSESS RESPONSIBILITY AND MUST BEAR THE BRUNT OF ANY DIFFICULTIES EXPERIENCED BY REASON OF THE CONTRACTOR'S LACK OF ABILITY TO PERFORM IN THE TIME AND MANNER REQUIRED. 51 COMP. GEN. 448 (1972). THEREFORE, THERE BEING NO SHOWING THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION WAS REACHED IN BAD FAITH OR LACKED A REASONABLE BASIS, IT WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY OUR OFFICE. 49 COMP. GEN. 553 (1970).

ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.