B-63775, MARCH 14, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 676

B-63775: Mar 14, 1947

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

THAT IS. PUBLIC OFFICERS ARE REQUIRED TO CONSIDER NOT ONLY THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES BUT. 1947: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 13. AS FOLLOWS: THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS IN RECEIPT OF BIDS FOR THE FURNISHING AND INSTALLING OF AUTOMATIC CHLORINATION EQUIPMENT AT THE ANACOSTIA WATER PUMPING STATION AT 18TH STREET AND MINNESOTA AVENUE. THE BIDS RECEIVED WERE AS FOLLOWS: G. 274.00 COPIES OF THE LETTER SUBMITTED WITH BIDS FROM THESE TWO FIRMS ARE ATTACHED. TOGETHER WITH A COPY OF THE SPECIFICATION ON WHICH THE BIDS ARE PREDICATED. WHICH WERE RECEIVED FOLLOWING THE USUAL ADVERTISING IN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS AS REQUIRED BY LAW. A. CUNNEY AND SONS IS NOT DEEMED SATISFACTORY. IT IS PROPOSED TO MAKE AWARD TO THE NEXT HIGHER AND ONLY OTHER BIDDER.

B-63775, MARCH 14, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 676

BIDS - ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION - BIDDER'S QUALIFICATIONS THE FACT THAT AN AWARD MUST BE MADE AFTER ADVERTISING FOR PROPOSALS DOES NOT REQUIRE THE ACCEPTANCE OF A BID SUBMITTED BY ONE NOT QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE NECESSARY SERVICES; THAT IS, THE PUBLIC INTEREST REQUIRES THAT THE CONTRACT BE AWARDED ONLY TO THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. IN SELECTING THE LOWEST "RESPONSIBLE" BIDDER TO BE AWARDED A CONTRACT AFTER ADVERTISING FOR PROPOSALS, PUBLIC OFFICERS ARE REQUIRED TO CONSIDER NOT ONLY THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES BUT, ALSO, THE JUDGMENT, SKILL AND INTEGRITY OF THE BIDDER AND TO INQUIRE AS TO HIS FITNESS AND ABILITY SUCCESSFULLY TO FULFILL THE CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, MARCH 14, 1947:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 13, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS IN RECEIPT OF BIDS FOR THE FURNISHING AND INSTALLING OF AUTOMATIC CHLORINATION EQUIPMENT AT THE ANACOSTIA WATER PUMPING STATION AT 18TH STREET AND MINNESOTA AVENUE, S.E. THE BIDS RECEIVED WERE AS FOLLOWS:

G. A. CUNNEY AND SONS -------------------- $7,700.00

WALLACE AND TIERNAN AND CO., INC ------ 10,274.00

COPIES OF THE LETTER SUBMITTED WITH BIDS FROM THESE TWO FIRMS ARE ATTACHED, TOGETHER WITH A COPY OF THE SPECIFICATION ON WHICH THE BIDS ARE PREDICATED, WHICH WERE RECEIVED FOLLOWING THE USUAL ADVERTISING IN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS AS REQUIRED BY LAW.

THE LOW BID SUBMITTED BY G. A. CUNNEY AND SONS IS NOT DEEMED SATISFACTORY, AND, THEREFORE, IT IS PROPOSED TO MAKE AWARD TO THE NEXT HIGHER AND ONLY OTHER BIDDER, WALLACE AND TIERNAN AND CO., INC. THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE MADE AS BROAD AS POSSIBLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF BRINGING IN PROPOSALS COVERING ALL AVAILABLE TYPES OF EQUIPMENT IN THIS FIELD. THE SPECIFICATIONS AVOIDED THE DESCRIPTION OF INCIDENTAL PARTS AND OPERATING TECHNIQUES EMPLOYED IN THE EQUIPMENT OF ANY PARTICULAR MANUFACTURER AND WERE CONFINED TO NECESSARY LIMITS OF ACCURACY AND OPERATING SAFETY WHICH ARE APPROPRIATELY APPLICABLE TO ALL VARIETIES OF CHLORINATING EQUIPMENT. SUSTAINED ACCURACY AND ABSOLUTE DEPENDABILITY AND SAFETY ARE CONSIDERED THE PRIMARY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE INSTALLATION PROPOSED. IN ORDER THAT THESE ELEMENTS BE OBTAINED, THE SPECIFICATIONS PROVIDED IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"PROPOSALS TO FURNISH AND INSTALL THE EQUIPMENT SPECIFIED WILL BE ACCEPTED ONLY FROM BIDDERS WHO ARE VERSED IN THE ART OF WATER STERILIZATION BY MEANS OF CHLORINE GAS, AND WHO HAVE BEEN ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS EITHER AS MANUFACTURERS OF SUCH EQUIPMENT OR AS SUPPLIERS AND INSTALLERS OF SUCH EQUIPMENT FOR A PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN FIVE (5) YEARS AND WHO HAVE ACTUALLY MADE SIMILAR INSTALLATIONS OF A SATISFACTORY CHARACTER. BIDDERS SHALL SUBMIT WITH THEIR PROPOSALS A LIST OF NOT LESS THAN THREE (3) SUCH INSTALLATIONS WHICH ARE NOW OPERATING SATISFACTORILY AND HAVE BEEN SO OPERATING FOR A PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN (2) YEARS.'

THE LOW BIDDER IN THIS CASE HAS SUBMITTED THE CHLORINATING EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURED BY THE EVERSON MANUFACTURING COMPANY, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. ONLY ONE INSTALLATION OF EQUIPMENT EXACTLY LIKE THAT SUBMITTED UNDER THE PROPOSAL WAS CITED AS EVER HAVING BEEN MADE BY ANYONE. NEITHER THIS NOR SUCH OTHER GENERALLY SIMILAR INSTALLATIONS IN THIS LOCALITY WERE MADE BY THE LOW BIDDER. THE LOW BIDDER IS NOT ABLE TO SHOW EXPERIENCE OF FIVE YEARS IN THE MAKING OF SIMILAR SATISFACTORY INSTALLATIONS. CHLORINATING EQUIPMENT OF AUTOMATIC TYPE IN THE VICINITY OF WASHINGTON, AS PRODUCED BY BOTH MANUFACTURERS INVOLVED IN THESE BIDS, HAS BEEN EXAMINED BY THE SENIOR ENGINEER IN CHARGE OF OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE, WATER DIVISION, D.C. HIS REPORT OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS DATED DECEMBER 30, 1946, IS ATTACHED HERETO. FROM THESE, IT IS APPARENT THAT EVERSON CHLORINATING EQUIPMENT IN THIS LOCALITY HAS NOT EXHIBITED THE DEGREE OF ACCURACY OR DEPENDABILITY WHICH IS CONSIDERED NOT ONLY DESIRABLE BUT ESSENTIAL FOR THE INSTALLATION PROPOSED BY THE DISTRICT. TOO GREAT EMPHASIS CANNOT BE PLACED ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SAFE CHLORINATION OF WATER DISTRIBUTED TO THOUSANDS OF CONSUMERS IN THE ANACOSTIA AREA. THE APPLICATION OF THIS POISONOUS GAS REQUIRES CONTROL WITHIN VERY NARROW LIMITS FOR PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH. THE INTRODUCTION OF THIS GAS IS NOW ACCOMPLISHED BY MANUALLY- OPERATED MACHINES WHICH REQUIRE CONTINUOUS SUPERVISION. THE ANNUAL PAY ROLL FOR THIS PURPOSE IS APPROXIMATELY $15,000. PERFECTLY FUNCTIONING AUTOMATIC EQUIPMENT WILL ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR CONSTANT ATTENTION, SINCE BRIEF DAILY INSPECTIONS WOULD SUFFICE. UNDEPENDABLE EQUIPMENT, ON THE OTHER HAND, COULD AND PROBABLY WOULD CAUSE THE RESUMPTION OF CONTINUOUS SUPERVISION AT GREAT ANNUAL COST FOR PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH. VIEW OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE SERVED BY ACCEPTING THE HIGHER BID WHICH OFFERS EQUIPMENT OF KNOWN DEPENDABILITY AND GENERALLY SUPERIOR QUALITY.

PRIOR TO MAKING THE AWARD AS OUTLINED ABOVE, THE COMMISSIONERS DESIRE AN EXPRESSION OF YOUR OPINION IN THE MATTER.

THE FACT THAT AN AWARD MUST BE MADE AFTER ADVERTISING FOR PROPOSALS DOES NOT REQUIRE THE ACCEPTANCE OF A BID SUBMITTED BY ONE NOT QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE NECESSARY SERVICES. 20 COMP. GEN. 862; O-BRIEN V. CARNEY, 6 F.1SUPP. 761, 762. IN OTHER WORDS THE PUBLIC INTEREST REQUIRES THAT THE CONTRACT BE AWARDED ONLY TO THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. HIBBS, ET AL. V. ARENSBERG, ET AL., 276 PA. 24, 119 A. 727. IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE WORD "RESPONSIBLE" IMPORTS SOMETHING MORE THAN PECUNIARY ABILITY AND THAT IN THE SELECTION OF THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE BIDDER FEDERAL AND MUNICIPAL OFFICERS ARE REQUIRED TO CONSIDER NOT ONLY THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES BUT ALSO THE JUDGMENT, SKILL AND INTEGRITY OF THE BIDDER AND TO INQUIRE AS TO HIS FITNESS AND ABILITY SUCCESSFULLY TO FULFILL THE CONTRACT REQUIREMENT. O-BRIEN V. CARNEY, SUPRA; KELLING, ET AL. V. EDWARDS, ET AL., 116 MINN. 484, 134 N.W. 22; KOICH V. CVAR, 110 P.2D 964. IN THE INSTANT CASE IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT, BASED UPON THE REPORT OF THE SENIOR ENGINEER IN CHARGE OF OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE, WATER DIVISION, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS HAVE DETERMINED THAT THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT WILL BEST BE SERVED BY ACCEPTING THE HIGHER BID, WHICH OFFERS EQUIPMENT OF KNOWN DEPENDABILITY AND GENERALLY SUPERIOR QUALITY.

ACCORDINGLY, ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS REPORTED BY YOU, THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE BID OF WALLACE AND TIERNAN AND CO., INC. ..END :