Evaluation of Air Force Academy Award for Lock Boxes

PLRD-83-28: Published: Jan 3, 1983. Publicly Released: Jan 3, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force Academy's formally advertised procurement of 1,500 lock boxes. Concern was expressed relating to a complaint by a constituent, one of the bidders, that: (1) he did not receive the contract even though he offered the lowest price; (2) the time allowed for delivery was substantially reduced because the contract was not awarded on the date originally planned; and (3) the academy paid about $4,000 more to the bidder awarded the contract than what he bid. Questions were also raised as to why the academy needed the boxes by the original delivery date and whether the bidder awarded the contract delivered the lock boxes on time.

GAO found that the bid was rejected as nonresponsive because the constituent did not agree to provide the boxes on or before the date specified in the solicitation. Bid rejection for this reason is in accordance with numerous Comptroller General decisions. The solicitation clearly stated that the bidder awarded this contract would be given about 7 weeks from the actual date of award to make delivery. None of the bidders requested an extension of the delivery date prior to bid opening. Five bidders offered to do the work in the allotted time. GAO believes that the constituent may have misunderstood the solicitation since he implied that delivery was required shortly after award of the contract. GAO also found that the difference was substantially less than $4,000, because the bidder that was awarded the contract offered an 8-percent discount for prompt payment, whereas the constituent offered no discount; considering the discount, the difference was $735 more than the constituent's bid. GAO was informed that a new class of about 1,500 cadets was due to arrive at the academy 5 days after the delivery date, and each cadet was to be issued a lock box. GAO did find that the bidder did not deliver the required 1,500 lock boxes on time. However, in consideration for accepting late delivery, the contract price was reduced by 1 percent.

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