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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR ATTORNEYS' LETTER OF MAY 27. 4 BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN THE AMOUNTS OF $0.055 PER POUND ($55. AWARD WAS MADE ON DECEMBER 30. THE RIGHT WAS RESERVED TO REJECT ANY OR ALL BIDS. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT YOUR CORPORATION WAS NOT SUCH A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER AS TO BE ENTITLED TO THE AWARD. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE REPORTS THAT DURING A CONSIDERABLE PART OF 1959 THE LAUNDRY SERVICE FURNISHED BY YOU WAS NOT SATISFACTORY BECAUSE OF FAILURE TO REMOVE STAINS. QUOTING FROM A REPORT OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF LAUNDERING AS FOLLOWS: "WE HAVE COMPLETED OUR EXAMINATION AND TESTS ON THE TWO WASH CLOTHS WHICH WERE SUBMITTED TO OUR LABORATORY FOR ANALYSIS. YOUR PLANT WAS EXTENSIVELY DAMAGED BY FIRE.

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B-141795, JUL. 13, 1960

TO OCEANSIDE LAUNDRY AND DRY CLEANERS, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR ATTORNEYS' LETTER OF MAY 27, 1960, AND ITS ENCLOSURES, RELATIVE TO YOUR PROTEST AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO A HIGHER BIDDER UNDER INVITATION NO. IFB-123-96-60, ISSUED OCTOBER 15, 1959, BY THE U.S. NAVY PURCHASING OFFICE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.

THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS--- TO BE OPENED NOVEMBER 5, 1959--- FOR FURNISHING LAUNDRY SERVICES FOR THE NAVAL HOSPITAL, CAMP PENDLETON, CALIFORNIA, DURING THE CALENDAR YEAR 1960, THE ESTIMATED QUANTITY OF LAUNDRY BEING 1,000,000 POUNDS. IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, 4 BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN THE AMOUNTS OF $0.055 PER POUND ($55,000--- YOUR BID), $0.07 PER POUND LESS A DISCOUNT OF 15 PERCENT 20 DAYS ($59,500--- BID OF CALIFORNIA LAUNDRY), $0.0725 PER POUND AND $0.075 PER POUND. AWARD WAS MADE ON DECEMBER 30, 1959, TO THE SECOND LOW BIDDER, CALIFORNIA LAUNDRY (CONTRACT NO. N123-/60285/24116A), AS THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDDER.

THE INVITATION PROVIDED THAT THE LAUNDRY SERVICES SHOULD BE FURNISHED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS SET FORTH THEREIN,INCLUDING A PROVISION THAT "ALL WORK SHALL BE PERFORMED IN A WORKMANLIKE AND SANITARY MANNER IN ACCORDANCE WITH ACCEPTED COMMERCIAL PRACTICE AND TO BE SATISFACTORY AND ACCEPTABLE TO THE ORDERING OFFICER.' IN PARAGRAPH 8 (B) OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS, THE RIGHT WAS RESERVED TO REJECT ANY OR ALL BIDS.

YOUR CORPORATION HAD FURNISHED LAUNDRY SERVICES FOR THE NAVAL HOSPITAL, CAMP PENDLETON, DURING THE CALENDAR YEAR 1959 UNDER CONTRACT NO. N123- /60285/20640A, WHICH INCLUDED SPECIFICATIONS ALMOST IDENTICAL TO THOSE SET OUT IN INVITATION NO. IFB-123-96-60. ON THE BASIS OF REPORTS FROM NAVAL HOSPITAL PERSONNEL AS TO YOUR ALLEGED UNSATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE RECORD UNDER THE 1959 CONTRACT, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT YOUR CORPORATION WAS NOT SUCH A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER AS TO BE ENTITLED TO THE AWARD.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE REPORTS THAT DURING A CONSIDERABLE PART OF 1959 THE LAUNDRY SERVICE FURNISHED BY YOU WAS NOT SATISFACTORY BECAUSE OF FAILURE TO REMOVE STAINS, CLOTTED BLOOD, ETC., DELAYS IN RETURNING LAUNDRY AND LOSS OF ARTICLES. THE FILE CONTAINS A COPY OF A LETTER DATED APRIL 20, 1959, FROM THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE HOSPITAL, QUOTING FROM A REPORT OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF LAUNDERING AS FOLLOWS:

"WE HAVE COMPLETED OUR EXAMINATION AND TESTS ON THE TWO WASH CLOTHS WHICH WERE SUBMITTED TO OUR LABORATORY FOR ANALYSIS.

"THE UNSATISFACTORY CONDITION OF THE WASH CLOTHS HAS RESULTED FROM AN IMPROPER WASHING OF THE FABRICS OR REPEATED IMPROPER WASHINGS. INSUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF SOAP AND ALKALI AND/OR THE LACK OF SUFFICIENT HOT WATER MAY BE THE CAUSE FOR THE POOR WASHING.'

UNDER DATE OF APRIL 2, 1959, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER INFORMED YOU OF DEFICIENCIES IN YOUR LAUNDRY SERVICE AND STATED THAT FAILURE TO CORRECT THE DEFICIENCIES WOULD RENDER THE CONTRACT SUBJECT TO TERMINATION. APPEARS THAT ON OR ABOUT APRIL 19, 1959, YOUR PLANT WAS EXTENSIVELY DAMAGED BY FIRE, WHEREUPON YOU HAD THE CONTRACT WORK PERFORMED BY THE KELLY ORIGINAL FRENCH LAUNDRY COMPANY OF SAN DIEGO UNTIL APPROXIMATELY SEPTEMBER 1, AFTER WHICH YOUR NEW FACILITIES WERE USED.

AGAIN BY A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 14, 1959, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER NOTIFIED YOU THAT BECAUSE OF THE DEFICIENCIES SPECIFIED THEREIN THE CONTRACT WOULD BE TERMINATED FOR DEFAULT UNLESS THE DEFICIENCIES WERE CORRECTED WITHIN 5 DAYS. THAT LETTER WAS BASED ON A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 8, 1959, FROM THE COMMANDING OFFICER, U.S. NAVAL HOSPITAL, CAMP PENDLETON, RECOMMENDING THAT THE 1959 CONTRACT BE TERMINATED AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE AND THAT YOUR CORPORATION BE DETERMINED INELIGIBLE FOR AWARD OF THE LAUNDRY CONTRACT FOR THE CALENDAR YEARS 1960 AND 1961. HOWEVER, IT IS REPORTED THAT FURTHER TERMINATION ACTION WAS NOT TAKEN BECAUSE OF THE SHORT TIME REMAINING IN THE CONTRACT PERIOD.

IN A SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT DATED DECEMBER 29, 1959, FROM THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL, LOS ANGELES, TO THE U.S. NAVY PURCHASING OFFICE, LOS ANGELES, IT IS STATED THAT A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL HAD VISITED THE HOSPITAL AT CAMP PENDLETON AND REPORTED EVIDENCE OF UNSATISFACTORY LAUNDRY SERVICE BY YOUR CORPORATION IN THE RESPECTS HEREINABOVE MENTIONED AND RECOMMENDED AGAINST FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION OF YOUR BID FOR FURNISHING LAUNDRY SERVICE DURING 1960. THAT SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT SPECIFICALLY REVERSED THE ORIGINAL PREAWARD SURVEY REPORT DATED NOVEMBER 30, 1959, WHICH HAD RECOMMENDED FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION OF YOUR BID, THE STATED GROUNDS FOR THE REVERSAL BEING THAT THE ORIGINAL REPORT HAD BEEN MADE ON INADEQUATE INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM THE FINANCE OFFICER IN THE ABSENCE OF THE SUPPLY OFFICER OF THE HOSPITAL.

YOU CONTEND, IN SUBSTANCE, THAT THE LAUNDRY SERVICES FURNISHED BY YOU UNDER THE 1959 CONTRACT WERE PERFORMED PROPERLY IN SUBSTANTIAL ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONTRACT SPECIFICATIONS AND THAT SUCH DIFFICULTIES AS WERE ENCOUNTERED WERE OF A MINOR NATURE OR RESULTED FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE HOSPITAL IN STAINING ARTICLES AND FAILING TO RINSE THEM BEFORE SENDING THEM TO BE LAUNDERED. TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER WAS A COPY OF A LETTER DATED AUGUST 20, 1959, FROM THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF LAUNDERING EXPRESSING THE OPINION THAT THE STAINS ON TOWELS WHICH YOU HAD SUBMITTED FOR EXAMINATION "DEVELOPED FROM SOME SUBSTANCE THAT WAS PRESENT IN THE FABRIC WHEN RECEIVED FOR LAUNDERING.' IT WAS STATED FURTHER THAT THE CAUSE OF THE STAINS HAD NOT BEEN ASCERTAINED; ALSO, THAT A PRIOR REPORT BY THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF LAUNDERING AFTER EXAMINATION OF TWO WASH CLOTHS (PERHAPS THE REPORT WHICH IS QUOTED IN PART ABOVE) HAD BEEN BASED ON INADEQUATE INFORMATION.

IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT THE DRAFTING OF SPECIFICATIONS DESIGNED TO MEET THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER THE BIDS RECEIVED ARE RESPONSIVE TO SUCH SPECIFICATIONS IS PRIMARILY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE REQUIRING THE MATERIALS, EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES. 21 COMP. GEN. 1132, 1136. ALSO, WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT THE QUESTION OF THE QUALIFICATIONS OF A PROPOSED CONTRACTOR PRIMARILY IS FOR DETERMINATION BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS CONCERNED AND SUCH DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY US IN THE ABSENCE OF A CLEAR SHOWING OF BAD FAITH OR LACK OF A REASONABLE FACTUAL BASIS THEREFOR. 37 COMP. GEN. 430; ID 676; ID. 798; 36 ID. 42.

UPON DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT BETWEEN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND A CLAIMANT OR OTHER PERSON DEALING WITH THE GOVERNMENT, THE LONG-ESTABLISHED RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IS TO ACCEPT THE STATEMENTS OF FACT FURNISHED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF THE CORRECTNESS THEREOF. 16 COMP. GEN. 325; ID. 410. IN THE INSTANT MATTER, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE NOT ONLY REPORTS THAT THE SERVICE FURNISHED BY YOUR CORPORATION WAS UNSATISFACTORY FOR THE SEVERAL REASONS SPECIFICALLY SET OUT BUT ALSO STATES THAT THE SERVICE BEING RENDERED BY CALIFORNIA LAUNDRY UNDER THE 1960 CONTRACT IS ENTIRELY SATISFACTORY AND HAS ELIMINATED THE DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR SERVICE. THE REPORTS OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF LAUNDERING ABOVE MENTIONED DO NOT PURPORT TO STATE A DEFINITE FINDING AS TO THE CAUSE OF THE DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED IN CONNECTION WITH THE LAUNDRY SERVICE AND MUST BE REGARDED AS INCONCLUSIVE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT THE ACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE IN REJECTING YOUR BID AND MAKING AWARD TO ANOTHER BIDDER WAS WITHOUT A REASONABLE FACTUAL BASIS. THEREFORE, NO FURTHER ACTION WILL BE TAKEN BY OUR OFFICE IN THE MATTER.

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