B-141615, JAN. 14, 1960

B-141615: Jan 14, 1960

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IS PROPERLY FOR PAYMENT. SK-W234 WAS ISSUED SEPTEMBER 4. WHEN BIDS WERE OPENED ON OCTOBER 8. IT WAS FOUND THAT THE LOW BID FOR ITEM NO. 1 HAD BEEN SUBMITTED BY MR. WHICH DATE WAS AFTER OPENING BUT PRIOR TO AWARD. WITH THE LETTER WERE FURNISHED SWORN WORKSHEETS CLEARLY ESTABLISHING THAT THE ERROR RESULTED FROM THE FAILURE TO CARRY OVER FROM THE ESTIMATE SHEET TO THE ADDING MACHINE TAPE AN ITEM FOR LEACH LINES. OUR OFFICE HAS LONG FOLLOWED THE RULE THAT WHERE AN ERROR IN BID IS ALLEGED AFTER OPENING AND PRIOR TO AWARD IT MAY BE CORRECTED UPON THE PROMPT SUBMISSION OF CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE ESTABLISHING THE NATURE AND AMOUNT OF THE MISTAKE. 23 COMP. IT APPEARS THAT THE NECESSARY QUANTUM OF PROOF WAS FURNISHED IN THIS INSTANCE AND THEREFORE THAT THE VOUCHER.

B-141615, JAN. 14, 1960

TO MR. M. E. FINGERSON, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 17, 1959, YOUR REFERENCE D 3415, FURNISHED TO US UNDER LETTER OF DECEMBER 31, 1959, REFERENCE D 3415 DCE, FROM THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, REQUESTING OUR DECISION WITH RESPECT TO WHETHER A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF RICHARD T. EDMISTON, UNDER CONTRACT NO. 14-10-436-303, IS PROPERLY FOR PAYMENT.

AN INVITATION FOR BIDS COVERING PROJECT NO. SK-W234 WAS ISSUED SEPTEMBER 4, 1959. ITEM 1 OF THE INVITATION CALLED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF EIGHT COMFORT STATIONS INCLUDING SEPTIC TANKS AND LEACHING LINES. WHEN BIDS WERE OPENED ON OCTOBER 8, 1959, IT WAS FOUND THAT THE LOW BID FOR ITEM NO. 1 HAD BEEN SUBMITTED BY MR. EDMISTON IN THE AMOUNT OF $61,391. NOTARIZED LETTER OF OCTOBER 13, 1959, WHICH DATE WAS AFTER OPENING BUT PRIOR TO AWARD, MR. EDMISTON ALLEGED AN ERROR IN HIS BID IN THE AMOUNT OF $7,311. WITH THE LETTER WERE FURNISHED SWORN WORKSHEETS CLEARLY ESTABLISHING THAT THE ERROR RESULTED FROM THE FAILURE TO CARRY OVER FROM THE ESTIMATE SHEET TO THE ADDING MACHINE TAPE AN ITEM FOR LEACH LINES. THE OMISSION OF THE ITEM PLUS NORMAL CHARGES FOR PROFIT, OVERHEAD AND BONDS ACCOUNTED FOR THE DEFICIENCY OF $7,311. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER APPARENTLY CONSIDERED THAT THE ERROR HAD BEEN CONCLUSIVELY ESTABLISHED AND ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT WITH MR. EDMISTON ON OCTOBER 16, 1959, FOR THE CONSTRUCTION CALLED FOR UNDER ITEM 1 OF THE INVITATION AT THE BID PRICE PLUS THE AMOUNT ERRONEOUSLY OMITTED.

OUR OFFICE HAS LONG FOLLOWED THE RULE THAT WHERE AN ERROR IN BID IS ALLEGED AFTER OPENING AND PRIOR TO AWARD IT MAY BE CORRECTED UPON THE PROMPT SUBMISSION OF CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE ESTABLISHING THE NATURE AND AMOUNT OF THE MISTAKE. 23 COMP. GEN. 596. IT APPEARS THAT THE NECESSARY QUANTUM OF PROOF WAS FURNISHED IN THIS INSTANCE AND THEREFORE THAT THE VOUCHER, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, MAY BE PAID IN THE FULL AMOUNT. HOWEVER, NO AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GRANTED TO MAKE CORRECTION OF THIS TYPE AT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER LEVEL WITHOUT A PRIOR APPROVAL FROM HIGHER HEADQUARTERS. WE ARE REQUESTING BY SEPARATE LETTER THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO INSURE THAT FURTHER CORRECTIONS OF THIS TYPE ARE MADE ONLY AS AUTHORIZED.

THE VOUCHER, FINANCE OFFICE FILE, AND OTHER ENCLOSURES TO THE LETTER OF DECEMBER 31, ARE RETURNED AS REQUESTED.

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