Review of Sealed Bid Practices

LCD-77-209: Published: Jan 28, 1977. Publicly Released: Jan 28, 1977.

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The bid receipt, opening, and acceptance practices for surplus property sales followed by the General Services Administration (GSA) Region V in Chicago were investigated. A sale for a surplus flexowriter was questioned. Procedures for handling sealed bid sales were reviewed and selected actual sales transactions were observed.

Adequate safeguards are provided to protest the integrity of sealed bid sales. Sales personnel in Region V may not have access to bids until the time they are opened. Bids are received by the GSA Business Service Center where they are time-stamped and kept, unopened, in a safe. The public may attend a bid opening; if present, they must sign a bid attendance register. GSA personnel open the bids in public or, if no one from the public is present, a GSA employee acts as witness. In the questioned sale, the high bid on the flexowriter was postmarked on January 27, 1976, and received by GSA on January 29, 1976. One public observer witnessed the bid opening on January 30, 1976. Close bids are not uncommon and eight of the 97 winning bids on January 30, 1976, were within $2 of the next highest bid.

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