B-79920, DEC 7, 1948

B-79920: Dec 7, 1948

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THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 9. THE ACQUISITION OF WHICH IS REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE BUGGS ISLAND DAM RESERVOIR PROJECT ON WHICH THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IS CURRENTLY ENGAGED. IT WAS HELD THAT THE PROCUREMENT OF ABSTRACTS OF TITLE IS SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3709. AUTHORIZE THE NEGOTIATION OF CONTRACTS FOR SERVICES OR SUPPLIES WHEN IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO SECURE COMPETITION. IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT LICENSED ATTORNEYS IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE FORBIDDEN TO BID COMPETITIVELY UPON ABSTRACT AND TITLE CONTRACTS. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE BAR IS PREPARED TO TAKE SUCH ACTION AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO INSURE COMPLIANCE WITH SAID STATUTES.

B-79920, DEC 7, 1948

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

THE HONORABLE, THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 9, 1948, WITH REFERENCE TO THE PROCUREMENT OF EVIDENCE OF THE VALIDITY OF TITLE TO LAND SITUATED IN NORTH CAROLINA, THE ACQUISITION OF WHICH IS REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE BUGGS ISLAND DAM RESERVOIR PROJECT ON WHICH THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IS CURRENTLY ENGAGED.

IN DECISION OF THE THEN ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, RENDERED MARCH 18, 1937 (A-84491), IT WAS HELD THAT THE PROCUREMENT OF ABSTRACTS OF TITLE IS SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH REQUIRE GENERALLY, THE PROCUREMENT OF SUPPLIES AND SERVICES BY CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO AFTER ADVERTISING FOR COMPETITIVE BIDS. HOWEVER, SAID STATUTE, AS AMENDED (41 U.S.C. 5), AS WELL AS SECTION 2 (C)(10) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT ACT OF 1947 (PUBLIC LAW 413, APPROVED FEBRUARY 19, 1948), AUTHORIZE THE NEGOTIATION OF CONTRACTS FOR SERVICES OR SUPPLIES WHEN IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO SECURE COMPETITION.

AS YOUR LETTER POINTS OUT, THE GENERAL STATUTES OF NORTH CAROLINA PROHIBIT ANY BUT ATTORNEYS LICENSED BY THAT STATE OF ABSTRACT OR GIVE OPINIONS UPON THE VALIDITY OF TITLES TO LANDS SITUATED THERE AND PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR THE VIOLATION OF SAID PROHIBITION. IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT LICENSED ATTORNEYS IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE FORBIDDEN TO BID COMPETITIVELY UPON ABSTRACT AND TITLE CONTRACTS. ALSO, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE BAR IS PREPARED TO TAKE SUCH ACTION AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO INSURE COMPLIANCE WITH SAID STATUTES. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WOULD APPEAR, AS STATED IN YOUR LETTER, THAT ADVERTISING FOR COMPETITIVE BIDS IS IMPRACTICABLE AND OF NO USEFUL PURPOSE.

ACCORDINGLY, THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT IF CONTRACTS BY YOUR DEPARTMENT FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF TITLE EVIDENCE IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE ENTERED INTO WITHOUT ADVERTISING FOR COMPETITIVE BIDS.