B-155983, MAR. 31, 1965

B-155983: Mar 31, 1965

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF JANUARY 24. PROPOSALS WERE SOLICITED. THE WORK WAS TO BE CONTRACTED FOR "ON A LEVEL-OF-EFFORT BASIS" AS OUTLINED ON THE FIRST PAGE OF THE REQUEST. PROPOSALS WERE TO BE SUBMITTED IN TWO SEPARATE PARTS. EACH PART WAS TO BE COMPLETE IN ITSELF SO THAT EVALUATION OF BOTH PARTS MIGHT BE ACCOMPLISHED CONCURRENTLY AND THAT EVALUATION OF THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL MIGHT BE MADE STRICTLY ON THE BASIS OF TECHNICAL MERIT. IT IS NOTED THAT YOU AVAILED YOURSELF OF THE RIGHT TO RESTRICT THE USE OF SUCH DATA. A PREPROPOSAL BRIEFING WAS TO BE HELD ON DECEMBER 17. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IT WAS SO HELD. BEFORE AWARD IS MADE. THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL WAS SENT TO 73 SMALL BUSINESS FIRMS AND SUBSEQUENTLY TO AN ADDITIONAL 19 FIRMS UPON THE RECEIPT OF THEIR REQUESTS.

B-155983, MAR. 31, 1965

TO BARBEE INSTRUMENT AND GYROSCOPE CO., INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF JANUARY 24, 1965, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, IN REGARD TO ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES BY THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION (NASA) IN ITS PROCUREMENT PROCEDURES IN CONNECTION WITH REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL NO. BG831-25-5-109P FOR CENTRAL ELECTRONIC SHOP SUPPORT, ISSUED ON DECEMBER 3, 1964.

PROPOSALS WERE SOLICITED, ON A SMALL BUSINESS SET-ASIDE BASIS, FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF WORK DURING AN 18-MONTH PERIOD, WITH A POSSIBLE EXTENSION FOR AN ADDITIONAL TWO YEARS, CONSISTING OF OVERHAUL, REPAIR AND FABRICATION OF ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT AND DEVICES AS SET FORTH IN THE EXHIBIT ATTACHED TO THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL. THE WORK WAS TO BE CONTRACTED FOR "ON A LEVEL-OF-EFFORT BASIS" AS OUTLINED ON THE FIRST PAGE OF THE REQUEST. PROPOSALS WERE TO BE SUBMITTED IN TWO SEPARATE PARTS, THE FIRST PART BEING A PRICE PROPOSAL AND THE SECOND PART BEING A TECHNICAL PROPOSAL. EACH PART WAS TO BE COMPLETE IN ITSELF SO THAT EVALUATION OF BOTH PARTS MIGHT BE ACCOMPLISHED CONCURRENTLY AND THAT EVALUATION OF THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL MIGHT BE MADE STRICTLY ON THE BASIS OF TECHNICAL MERIT. EACH OFFEROR HAD A RIGHT TO RESTRICT THE DATA HE SUBMITTED FOR EVALUATION PURPOSES FROM DISCLOSURE TO THE PUBLIC OR USE BY THE GOVERNMENT OTHER THAN EVALUATION OF SAID PROPOSAL. IT IS NOTED THAT YOU AVAILED YOURSELF OF THE RIGHT TO RESTRICT THE USE OF SUCH DATA. A PREPROPOSAL BRIEFING WAS TO BE HELD ON DECEMBER 17, 1964, AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IT WAS SO HELD. THE GOVERNMENT RESERVED THE RIGHT TO CONSIDER PROPOSALS, OR MODIFICATIONS THEREOF, RECEIVED AFTER THE DATE INDICATED FOR SUCH PURPOSE, BUT BEFORE AWARD IS MADE, SHOULD SUCH ACTION BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.

THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL WAS SENT TO 73 SMALL BUSINESS FIRMS AND SUBSEQUENTLY TO AN ADDITIONAL 19 FIRMS UPON THE RECEIPT OF THEIR REQUESTS. PROPOSALS WERE TO BE RECEIVED UNTIL THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON JANUARY 4, 1965. EIGHT PROPOSALS WERE TIMELY RECEIVED ON JANUARY 4, 1965. A LATE PROPOSAL WAS RECEIVED FROM THE METRON CORPORATION ON JANUARY 5, 1965, AND AFTER INVESTIGATION IT WAS FOUND THAT THE LATE RECEIPT OF THIS PROPOSAL WAS DUE SOLELY TO DELAY IN THE MAILS. THEREFORE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS, THIS PROPOSAL WAS CONSIDERED ON AN EQUAL BASIS WITH ALL OTHER PROPOSALS. IT IS NOT KNOWN WHETHER THIS PROPOSAL IS THE ONE REFERRED TO BY YOU IN YOUR TELEGRAM OF JANUARY 24, 1965, WHEREIN YOU STATED THAT "LATE SOLICITED OR UNSOLICITED REVISIONS TO PROPOSALS" ARE BEING EVALUATED BY NASA. FURTHERMORE, AS WILL BE SET OUT HEREINAFTER, THIS PROPOSAL IS NOT BEING CONSIDERED FOR ACCEPTANCE.

WITH REGARD TO YOUR ALLEGATION THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICE WAS FILLING IN BLANKS ON THE PROPOSALS, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTS THAT YOU WERE CONTACTED ON FEBRUARY 1, 1965, TO DETERMINE THE MEANING OF CERTAIN INITIALS YOU HAD USED IN YOUR PROPOSAL TO IDENTIFY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY FOR WHICH YOU HAD PERFORMED WORK IN THE PAST. HE INSISTS, HOWEVER, THAT NO OTHER OFFEROR WAS CONTACTED, NOR DID ANY PERSON AT THE CONTRACTING OFFICE FILL IN BLANKS ON THE PROPOSALS AFTER THEIR RECEIPT AND DURING EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS.

WITH REGARD TO YOUR MENTION OF AN "AUDIT OMISSION" IN YOUR TELEGRAM OF FEBRUARY 10, 1965, IT IS REPORTED THAT THIS APPARENTLY REFERS TO AN AUDIT CONDUCTED BY THE ARMY AUDIT AGENCY IN CONNECTION WITH A PREVIOUS NASA PROCUREMENT ON WHICH YOU SUBMITTED A PROPOSAL. IT IS REPORTED FURTHER THAT YOU TOOK ISSUE WITH THE AGENCY'S FINDINGS ON THAT OCCASION AND FEEL THAT THE RESULTS OF THIS PRIOR AUDIT NOW PREJUDICE YOUR CHANCES FOR AWARD UNDER THE PRESENT NASA PROCUREMENT. HOWEVER, SINCE YOU DID NOT RANK HIGH ENOUGH DURING EVALUATION TO BE IN CONTENTION FOR THE PRESENT PROCUREMENT, AS HEREINAFTER EXPLAINED, IT WAS CONSIDERED THAT THE TIME AND EXPENSE REQUIRED FOR A CURRENT AUDIT WERE NOT WARRANTED.

AS TO THE EVALUATION OF THE NINE PROPOSALS RECEIVED, IT WAS DEEMED ADVISABLE TO ESTABLISH A SOURCE EVALUATION COMMITTEE FOR THE EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS. THAT COMMITTEE APPLIED A GREATER WEIGHT TO TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT THAN TO BUSINESS MANAGEMENT IN THE EVALUATION OF THE PROPOSALS. AFTER REVIEW OF THE PROPOSALS SUBMITTED AND OF OTHER DATA, THE COMMITTEE DECIDED ON A POINT BASIS THAT TWO OTHER OFFERORS, NOT INCLUDING GULF AEROSPACE CORPORATION OR YOUR FIRM WHICH ARE PRESENTLY ENGAGED IN CONTRACT WORK FOR NASA, SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD. NEGOTIATIONS HAVE NOW BEEN COMPLETED AND IT IS PROPOSED TO AWARD A CONTRACT TO TEST EQUIPMENT CORPORATION (TEQUIPCO). IT IS REPORTED THAT, IN THE CONSIDERED JUDGMENT OF THE COMMITTEE, NEITHER GULF NOR YOU WERE AS WELL QUALIFIED AS THOSE FIRMS WHOM THEY RATED HIGHER.

OUR OFFICE HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT SINCE THE SOURCE EVALUATION PROCEDURES WERE EMPLOYED IN THIS CASE, THE GENERAL RULES APPLICABLE TO DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE PROPOSALS RECEIVED AS WELL AS THE RELATIVE SCORING ARE THOSE CONTAINED IN NASA GENERAL MANAGEMENT INSTRUCTION 3-3-15, WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE DEBRIEFING OF UNSUCCESSFUL COMPANIES IN CERTAIN PROCUREMENTS. APPLICATION FOR SUCH DEBRIEFING IN THIS CASE SHOULD BE MADE TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE FIELD INSTALLATION INVOLVED, IF IT HAS NOT ALREADY BEEN MADE.

IN NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENTS, THE RULES OF FORMALLY ADVERTISED COMPETITIVE BIDDING, SUCH AS THE REQUIREMENT FOR AWARD TO THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE, RESPONSIBLE BIDDER, ARE NOT APPLICABLE AND THE NEGOTIATION AUTHORITY MAY LEGALLY TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION ALL FACTORS DEEMED ESSENTIAL TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A PROCUREMENT. SEE B-146688, OCTOBER 9, 1961. THE FACT THAT MORE WEIGHT WAS GIVEN TO TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT THAN BUSINESS MANAGEMENT, OR EVEN COST, WAS NOT IMPROPER IN EVALUATING THE PROPOSALS. 40 COMP. GEN. 508.

YOU HAVE NOT PRESENTED ANY EVIDENCE WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS CONSTITUTING AN IMPROPER ACTION ON THE PART OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICE IN CONNECTION WITH THE INVOLVED REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL AND WE DO NOT FIND ANYTHING IN THE RECORD BEFORE OUR OFFICE WHICH WOULD WARRANT OUR OFFICE IN OBJECTING TO THE PROCEDURES USED.

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