Award of Nine Purchase Orders to One Source Violates FPMR

B-193541: Mar 27, 1979

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Although the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) provided a maximum order limitation of $250,000, the Mine and Safety Administration improperly awarded nine consecutively numbered purchase orders on the same date for sound detection equipment totaling $669,000. The Department of Labor contended that a possible loss of funds at the end of the fiscal year and insufficient time to procure equipment by formal advertising justified the placement of purchase orders totaling more than the maximum order limitation in the FSS contract. The protesting firm contended that less expensive equipment was available and that the agency's justification for purchasing sound level meters from other than the lowest-priced FSS source was questionable. In sustaining the protest, GAO held that the purchases were made in violation of the maximum order limitation and that possible loss of funding at the end of the fiscal year did not justify deviation from the normal competitive bid process.

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