U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS STUART M. FOSS Administrative Judge Appeal of GRAPHICS IMAGE, INC. Jacket No. 692-117, Purchase Order R-9440 Docket No. GPO BCA 13-92 August 31, 1992 DECISION AND ORDER This appeal, timely filed by Graphics Image, Inc., 561 Boston Post Road, Milford, Connecticut 06460 (hereinafter Appellant or Contractor), is from the final decision of Contracting Officer Michael Atkins of the U.S. Government Printing Office's (hereinafter Respondent or GPO or Government) Regional Printing Procurement Office, Seattle, Washington 98134-2397 (SRPPO), dated December 31, 1991, terminating the Appellant's contract identified as Jacket No. 692-117, Purchase Order R-9440, for default for failing to adhere to the contract schedule (R4 File, Tab D). 1/ For the reasons which follow, the decision of the Contracting Officer is hereby REVERSED. 2/ SUMMARY FINDINGS OF FACT 3/ 1. On December 19, 1991, the Respondent issued Purchase Order R-9440 to the Appellant procuring 1,000 copies of a 60-page perfect-bound book entitled "Value Engineering Program Booklet," from the Appellant for a contract price of $8,870.00 (R4 File, Tab A). The original photography, Government-furnished computer cartridge, and all supplemental information was shipped to the Appellant via Federal Express on December 20, 1991, with scheduled delivery December 21, 1991, a Saturday (R4 File, Tab G). 2. Attached to the Purchase Order were "Special Printing Requirements," including, inter alia: 1. ART PREPARATION a. Booklet layout has been prepared on Mackintosh [sic] computer system using PageMaker 4.01 program. Five PageMaker files make up entire book, and have been written onto a 44 megabyte removable SyQuest data cartridge. (Illustrations were created in Adobe 3.0 and Freehand 4.0, BUT all have been imported and placed into position in PageMaker files.) 4/ 2. PRINTING * * * * * * * * * * b. We will send data cartridge and photographs directly to the printing contractor via express mail within one day of receiving notification of contract award from GPO. * * * * * * * * * * 4. PROOFING a. Request Chromalin proofs on all pages from approval prior to printing. b. Request blueline proof of entire book gathering and binding for approval prior to printing. c. Request press check at printing. Please consider travel expenses for 3 persons' travel to press check in evaluating lowest [bidder] (R4 File, Tab A). [Emphasis added.] 3. Although the contract provides that the customer-agency will have two workdays after receipt to review page proofs, an examination of the Purchase Order discloses that no date is established in the contract for the Contractor to furnish proofs to the ACOE or obtain the customer-agency's pre-printing approval (R4 File, Tab A). 5/ 4. Because the ACOE required the books for a conference in Washington, DC on January 10, 1992, the contract required that the work was to be completed and delivered to the customer- agency, F.O.B. ACOE's Portland, Oregon dock, by January 3, 1992 (R4 File, Tabs A, C and G). 5. The Government-furnished material - original photography, the computer data cartridge and all supplemental information - was sent to the Appellant by Federal Express on December 20, 1991, and was received the following day, a Saturday (R4 File, Tabs A and G). 6. On or about December 30, 1991, when the customer-agency still had not received the proofs, Joan M. H. Ouchida (Ouchida), the ACOE's Lead Visual Information Specialist for this contract, telephoned the SRPPO to inquire about their status, and was told to contact the Appellant directly (R4 File, Tab G). 6/ Accordingly, Ouchida called the Appellant and they discussed, in general, the problems the Contractor was having with the Government-furnished computer cartridge (R4 File, Tab G). When she "pressed" the Appellant for a date by which proofs would be available for examination, Ouchida was informed that they would be ready by January 2, 1992 (R4 File, Tabs B and G). Ouchida and the Appellant also discussed a revised schedule under which the job would still be delivered by the required date, and which involved sending the proofs directly to Ouchida's house over a weekend (R4 File, Tab G). See also, RTC, p. 6. Ouchida did not agree to the Appellant's proposed new schedule (R4 File, Tab G). Since her conversation with the Appellant caused her to doubt whether the Contractor could provide the books in time for the meeting, Ouchida telephoned the Contracting Officer and asked him to look into the situation (R4 File, Tab G). See also, RTC, p. 6. 7. On or about December 30, 1991, in response to Ouchida's telephone call, an SRPPO employee telephoned the Contractor to inquire about the status of proofs (R4 File, Tab G). However, the employee was unable to speak to anyone at the Appellant's facility who could provide the necessary information (R4 File, Tab B). The following day, December 31, 1991, the Contracting Officer spoke to Michael B. Cone, the Appellant's Customer Service Representative, and was told that: (a) the production of negatives from the Government-furnished computer cartridge was slower than it should have been; (b) the problem stemmed from the fact that the Contractor was having trouble with the computer cartridge it had been sent; and (c) the Appellant possessed state-of-the-art equipment so anyone would have the same problem (R4 File, Tab B). 7/ However, Cone also stated that the problems had been solved and the proofs would be available to the ACOE on January 2, 1992 (R4 File, Tabs B and C). 8. The Appellant's problems with the Government-furnished computer cartridge were essentially two-fold: (a) the coin artwork was saved and incorporated into Aldus PageMaker in the form of PICT files instead of EPS files, and had to be converted; and (b) the VE Master small artwork was also incorrectly constructed. See, Statement of the Appellant's Claim, dated May 12, 1992, Affidavit of Michael B. Cone. 8/ It took the Appellant a total of two calendar days to correct these technical problems. Id. 9. At the request of the Contracting Officer, on January 2, 1992, Ouchida supplied a duplicate computer cartridge to the ACOE's local service bureau, Portland Ad Type, Inc. (Portland Ad), for testing (R4 File, Tab G). See also, SRPPO Memorandum, p. 2. Portland Ad reported to the ACOE that its tests revealed the coin artwork imaged as EPS files and did not require conversion from PICT to EPS (R4 File, Tab G). Also, when Portland Ad ran the job using the duplicate computer cartridge, it was able to produce the entire book in 4 hours and 45 minutes (R4 File, Tab G). See also, SRPPO Memorandum, p. 2. 10. However, the second problem described by the Appellant - the incorrect construction of the VE Master small artwork on the data cartridge - was also discovered by Ouchida on the duplicate computer cartridge at a press check on the reprocured contract on January 6, 1992 (R4 File, Tab G). 9/ It took an ACOE operator an hour to correct this defect (R4 File, Tab G). Thereafter, new films were imaged by Portland Ad within 30 minutes, delivered to the printer within three hours, and the pages were approved within 12-18 hours of discovering the original problem, following a second press check (R4 File, Tab G). The Appellant took 6 1/2 hours and a loss of one (1) calendar day to correct this problem on the original computer cartridge. See, Statement of the Appellant's Claim, supra, Affidavit of Michael B. Cone. 11. Following his conversation with Cone on December 31, 1991, the Contracting Officer decided to terminate the Appellant's contract for default (R4 File, Tabs C, D and E). Accordingly, the same day the Contracting Officer sent a memorandum to the CRB, seeking its approval for the proposed termination action and immediate reprocurement, explaining: This order was awarded to [the Appellant] . . . with a deliver date of 01/03/92. On 12/30/91 the [C]ontractor was called by this office for status of the proof; as our records indicated not receiving a proof as of 12/30/91. The [C]ontractor was unable to provide proof status information [until] 12/31/91. At which time the [C]ontractor indicated that they would not have a proof sent [until] 01/03/92. Our customer-agency must have this book by 01/10/92 as it is a time dated product for a conference. Since it is impossible for the contractor to comply with the schedule and there is a usage- product date of 01/10/92, the Contracting Officer request[s] concurrence to terminate Jacket 692-117 for complete default and reprocured [sic] immediately. 10/ (R4 File, Tabs C and E). 12. As further explained by the Contracting Officer in a later memorandum to the Board: . . . [M]y decision to terminate for default was three phased: a) [t]he Appellant claimed that they were generating one page per 8 hours and they "thought" that they could have proofs by January 3, 1992, [this] was subjective and unreliable in my opinion; b) [t]he [ACOE] informed GPO that the publication was required for a conference on January 10, 1992; c) [t]he [ACOE] was asked their opinion as to the time that may be required to out-put [sic] the entire cartridge. They consulted [Portland Ad] who prepared the cartridge, and after testing a duplicate, stated that it should require from 20-40 minutes per page - depending on the contents and colors of the page. I then conversed with an unsuccessful bidder regarding their estimated time for out-put [sic] and their answer was consistent with that of [Portland Ad]. 11/ Based on the above scenario, I therefore decided to terminate Jacket 692-117 for default. See, SRPPO Memorandum , pp. 1-2. 13. After receiving the memorandum from the Contracting Officer on December 31, 1991, the CRB gave its immediate approval to the proposed termination for default; however, one of its members placed the following notation on the memorandum: "* See CT [Contract Terms] Article 20, Default-CO [Contracting Officer] cannot default before scheduled ship date without cure notice." (R4 File, Tab E). 12/ See, GPO Contract Terms, GPO Publication 310.2, Effective December 1, 1987 (Rev. 9-88), Contract Clauses, ¶ 20 (Default) (GPO Contract Terms). 14. As soon as he received the CRB's approval for his action, the Contracting Officer sent a letter to the Appellant, dated December 31, 1991, terminating the contract for default for failure to adhere to the schedule, effective immediately (R4 File, Tab D). The Appellant was also told that it would be liable for excess reprocurement costs (R4 File, Tab D). 13/ 15. On or about January 2, 1992, the SRPPO reprocured the books from Riddle Press (Riddle) for $13,775.00, and immediately initiated steps to recover $4,905.00 in excess reprocurement costs from the Appellant (R4 File, Tab F). Production under the reprocurement contract began on January 6, 1992, and was completed by Riddle sometime on January 7, 1992 (R4 File, Tab G). To arrive in time for the meeting on January 10, 1992, the ACOE had the initial copies hand carried from Portland to Washington, DC at an additional cost of $495.00, instead of having them shipped by commercial carrier or the U.S. Postal Service (R4 File, Tab G). ISSUES PRESENTED This case presents four issues for the consideration of the Board: 1. Was the Appellant entitled to an opportunity to cure its failure to provide proofs before the Contracting Officer could terminate the contract for default? 2. Was the Contracting Officer in error to terminate the contract for default prior to the delivery date because he believed the inability of the Contractor to supply proofs before January 3, 1992, made it impossible for the contractor to comply with the schedule? 3. Was the Contracting Officer's decision to terminate the Appellant's contract for default prior to the delivery date under the circumstances here, an abuse of discretion? 4. Was the Appellant's delay in providing proofs due to a defective Government-furnished computer cartridge, so that it is excused from liability for excess reprocurement costs? SUMMARY CONCLUSIONS 14/ Since the ultimate question which the Board must decide is whether or not the Contracting Officer erroneously terminated the Appellant's contract for default under the circumstances of this case, certain legal principles should be kept in mind at the outset. First, a default termination is a drastic action which may only be taken for good cause and on the basis of solid evidence. 15/ See, e.g., R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, GPO BCA 31-90 (February 6, 1992), Sl. op. at 25; Stephenson, Inc., GPO BCA 02-88 (December 20, 1991), Sl. op. at 20 (citing, Mary Rogers Manley d/b/a Mary Rogers Real Estate, HUDBCA No. 76-27, 78-2 BCA ¶13,519; Decatur Realty Sales, HUDBCA No. 75-26, 77-2 BCA ¶ 12,567). Second, the burden of proving the basis for the default is on the Government, Lisbon Contractors v. United States, 828 F.2d 759 (Fed. Cir. 1987); Chavis and Chavis Printing, GPO BCA 209-90 (February 6, 1991), Sl. op. at 11 (and cases cited therein); R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op. at 28, whereas the contractor has the burden of proving excusability. Switlik Parachute Company v. United States, 216 Ct.Cl. 362 (1978); Davis v. United States, 180 Ct.Cl. 20 (1967); J.F. Whalen and Company, AGBCA Nos. 83-160-1, 83-281-1, 88-3 BCA ¶ 21,066; B. M. Harrison Electrosonics, Inc., ASBCA No. 7684, 1963 BCA ¶ 3,736; Hy-Cal Engineering Corporation, NASA BCA Nos. 871-18 and 772-7, 75-2 BCA ¶ 11,399; Chavis and Chavis Printing, supra, Sl. op. at 11-12 (and cases cited therein); R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op. at 28. The standard "Default" clause identifies several grounds which have the effect of excusing defaulting conduct by Government contractors, including acts of the Government in either its sovereign or contractual capacity. 16/ See, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 20.(c). Government acts which may extinguish a contractor's performance obligations include defective specifications, Robert E. Moore Construction, AGBCA No. 85-262-1, 90-2 BCA ¶ 22,803, and defective Government-furnished equipment. Boque Electric Manufacturing Company, ASBCA No. 25184, 86-2 BCA ¶ 18,925. However, the burden of proving Government defects falls on the contractor, who must also show that such defects were the cause of the problems in question. Editors Press Incorporated, GPO BCA 03-90 (September 4, 1991) Sl. op. at 12-13; Fry Communications, Inc., GPO BCA 1-87 (June 1, 1989), Sl. op. at 5 (citing, Bailfield Industries, Division A-T-O, Inc., ASBCA No. 18057, 77-1 BCA ¶ 12,348). Third, a default termination is a discretionary act which can be challenged on an abuse of discretion standard. Darwin Construction Company, Inc. v. United States, 811 F.2d 593 (Fed. Cir. 1987); Quality Environment Systems v. United States, 7 Cl.Ct. 428 (1985); Schlesinger v. United States, 390 F.2d 702 (Ct. Cl. 1968); Executive Elevator Service, Inc., VABCA No. 2152, 87-2 BCA ¶ 19,849, mot. for reconsider. denied, 87-3 BCA ¶ 20,083. The burden is on the contractor to prove abuse of discretion. Cf., Kit Pack Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 33135, 89-3 BCA ¶ 22,151; Lafayette Coal Company, ASBCA No. 32174, 89-3 BCA ¶ 21,963; Quality Environment Systems, Inc., ASBCA No. 22178, 87-3 BCA ¶ 20,060. Applying these principles to the facts in the record, the Board reaches the following conclusions: A. Under the circumstances here, the Contracting Officer's failure to provide the Appellant with an opportunity to furnish proofs before terminating the contract for default, was not a fatal procedural error. 1. The Contracting Officer's decision to default the Appellant for "failure to adhere to the schedule" is a termination based on the Contractor's failure to "[m]ake progress, so as to endanger performance." GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶20.(a)(1) (ii). 2. Ordinarily, "progress" default terminations may not be effectuated unless and until the Contracting Officer has served a 10-day "Cure Notice" on the contractor affording it an opportunity to correct the situation endangering performance. GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 20.(a)(2); PPR, Chap. XIV, Sec. 1, ¶3.c.(2). However, a 10-day "Cure Notice" is not an absolute, because the Respondent's implementing regulations also state: If the Contracting Officer determines that a shorter period is reasonable, and sufficient time remains in the contract delivery schedule, such shorter period may be authorized, provided the determination is supported and documented in the contract file. If the time remaining in the contract delivery schedule is not sufficient to permit a realistic "cure" period, the "Cure Notice" shall not be issued. PPR, Chap. XIV, Sec. 1, ¶ 3.c.(2). [Emphasis added.] 3. A 10-day cure period, or reasonable shorter period, was out of the question here because the Respondent first became aware that no proofs had been furnished by the Contractor on December 30, 1991, and the Contracting Officer did not discuss the matter with the Appellant until December 31, 1991 - only three workdays before the contract delivery date (January 3, 1992). 17/ 4. Since January 1, 1992, was a national holiday, and the Appellant had indicated that it could not provide proofs until January 2, 1992, at the earliest, it was patently clear to the Contracting Officer that in the time remaining for contract performance the ACOE would not have the contractually allowed two workdays to review the proofs before the contract delivery date (January 3, 1992) (R4 File, Tabs B, C, E and G). Therefore, because, in his judgment, insufficient time was left in the contract delivery schedule to permit a realistic "cure" period, the Contracting Officer decided not to issue a "Cure Notice" before terminating the contract for default. 5. The decision concerning whether or not a shorter cure period is reasonable, realistic, and warranted in light of the contract delivery schedule, is discretionary with the Contracting Officer. Cf., Stephenson, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 19-20, fn. 22 ("show cause notice"). 18/ Furthermore, nothing in the rules require the Contracting Officer to extend the contract delivery date in order to provide a limited cure period; indeed, the rules imply just the opposite-any brief cure period must occur within the time allowed for contract performance. 6. In this case, the Contracting Officer exercised his discretion to terminate the contract without affording the Appellant an opportunity to cure its performance failure. Because that decision is consistent with the rules in the PPR, it will not be disturbed by the Board. 19/ Id. (citing, Stabbe Senter Press, GPO BCA 13-85 and 19-85 (May 12, 1989), Sl. op. at 53). B. The Contracting Officer's decision to terminate the contract for default prior to the delivery date was in error because the Appellant was not in default. 1. The Contracting Officer's conclusion that termination for default was justified in this case is rooted in a single conversation he had with Cone on December 31, 1992 (the date of termination). In their discussion, Cone told him that proofs would not be available for the ACOE until January 2, 1992, at the earliest, because the Appellant had just finished correcting certain technological problems with the Government-furnished computer cartridge. Previously, from Ouchida, he had learned that the Appellant had suggested a new delivery schedule (R4 File, Tab G). See also, RTC, p. 6. The Contracting Officer thought that Cone's commitment to have proofs ready on or about January 2, 1992, was "subjective and unreliable," and was also unsatisfactory because it would not afford the ACOE the contractually allowed two workdays to review the proofs prior to the contract delivery date. Therefore, he decided that immediate termination of the Appellant's contract was in "the best interest of the Government." PPR, Chap. XIV, Sec. 1, ¶ 3.c.(2). 2. The Government may reasonably find performance to be endangered when a contractor indicates that delivery will be late, and seeks a time extension. Fitzgerald Laboratories, Inc., ASBCA No. 15205, 71-2 BCA ¶ 9,029. In determining that the rate of progress is "endangering" timely performance, the failure to meet contract milestones or interim submission requirements is often significant. 20/ Dubrow Electronic Industries, Inc., ASBCA No. 8464, 65-1 BCA ¶ 4,859; Melcor Electronics Corporation, ASBCA No. 17211, 73-1 BCA ¶ 10,015. 3. The Appellant's contract contains no "milestones" to meet; i.e., the Purchase Order fails to establish a date by which page proofs are to be received by the Government. However, the Board agrees with the Contracting Officer that, under this contract, a responsible contractor faced with a contract delivery date of January 3, 1992, and knowing that proofs were required which the ACOE could hold for two workdays, would allow sufficient time within the contract schedule for the proofing process, production and delivery. 21/ SRPPO Memorandum, p. 1. 4. The undisputed record facts are: (1) there was a delay in furnishing the required proofs; (2) the Appellant knew that it could not provide proofs in time to complete the contract within the original delivery schedule; and (3) the Contractor was asking for additional time to perform the contract. Consequently, on these facts, it was reasonable for the Contracting Officer to conclude on December 31, 1991, that performance under the contract was endangered. GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶20.(a)(1)(ii). Fitzgerald Laboratories, Inc., supra, 71-2 BCA ¶9,029. 5. On the other hand, the Appellant has sustained its burden of proof in this case in showing that the delay in furnishing proofs was due to the fact that the Government-furnished computer cartridge was defective and that time was needed to correct the technical problems. Boque Electric Manufacturing Company, supra, 86-2 BCA ¶ 18,925. See, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶20.(c). 6. One of the two problems claimed by the Appellant to be wrong with the computer cartridge sent to it - the incorrect construction of the VE Master small artwork on the data cartridge - was also discovered by the ACOE on the duplicate computer cartridge at a press check on the reprocured contract on January 6, 1992 (R4 File, Tab G) (R4 File, Tab G). 22/ 7. The second technical defect - the coin artwork being improperly saved and incorporated into Aldus PageMaker in the form of PICT files, instead of correct EPS files - is disputed by the Respondent. The Respondent relies on the tests made by Portland Ad with the duplicate computer cartridge after the contract had been terminated. However, test results obtained from a duplicate computer cartridge are an insufficient basis to conclude that the coin artwork was also properly saved on the one sent to the Appellant two weeks earlier; i.e., the best evidence of the technical problems faced by the Contractor would have been the cartridge it received. 23/ Cf., Eagle Management, Inc., ASBCA No. 35902, 90-1 BCA ¶ 22,513, at 112,997. Considering that the duplicate cartridge was also faulty to the extent that the VE Master small artwork was incorrectly constructed, the Board believes that the Appellant's claim, supported by Cone's affidavit, that the Government-furnished computer cartridge it received was defective in the manner alleged, is true. 24/ 8. Based on the same evidence, and essentially for the same reasons, the Board concludes that the defects in the Government- furnished computer cartridge was the proximate cause of the Appellant's delay in furnishing proofs to the ACOE. 25/ Accordingly, in light of the foregoing analysis, the Board holds that the Appellant was not in default at the time of the termination. 26/ Pennsylvania Printed Products, supra, GPO BCA 29-87 (January 22, 1990), Sl. op. at 14. 9. Since the Appellant's delay in furnishing proofs was directly traceable the Government's defective computer cartridge, the Contractor was entitled to the benefit of the "Extension of schedules" clause in GPO Contract Terms. GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 12.(c)(1). Cf., Pennsylvania Printed Products, supra, Sl. op. at 13. Also cf., Marine Transport Lines, Inc., ASBCA No. 28962, 86-3 BA ¶ 19,164; FKC Engineering Company, supra, 70-1 BCA ¶ 8,312. Under that clause, when a contractor's delay is the fault of the Government, the contract delivery schedule is automatically extended by the total number of workdays that the work was delayed, plus a grace period of one workday for each day of delay, not to exceed three workdays. Pennsylvania Printed Products, supra, Sl. op. at 13. 10. The Board accepts as credible the Appellant's estimate of the hours and time lost in remedying each defect - 10 1/2 hours and a loss of one (1) calendar day for the PICT file problem, and 6 1/2 hours and loss of one (1) calendar day for the VE file problem; i.e., two workdays overall. See, Statement of the Appellant's Claim, supra, Affidavit of Michael B. Cone. Therefore, under the "Extension of schedules" clause, the Appellant was entitled to have the contract delivery schedule extended four workdays (Saturdays and Sundays are excluded). See, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 12.(c)(1) (Example 2). Accordingly, applying these provisions to the contract in question, the contract delivery schedule should have been expanded by four workdays, or until January 9, 1992, (since Saturday, January 4, 1992, and Sunday, January 5, 1992, are not counted). 11. With a new contract due date of January 9, 1992, the Appellant would have had ample time to furnish proofs to the ACOE, have the customer-agency review them for two days, and still have been able to complete the contract in time for the January 10, 1992 meeting. Pennsylvania Printed Products, supra, Sl. op. at 13. C. The Contracting Officer's decision to terminate the Appellant's contract for default prior to the delivery date was an abuse of discretion under the circumstances herein. 1. While a contracting officer has the discretionary authority to terminate a contract for default, the exercise of that discretion must be fair and equitable. Lewis B. Udis v. United States, supra, 7 Cl. Ct. at 387 (citing, Everett Plywood Corporation v. United States, 512 F.2d 1082, 1090 (Ct.Cl. 1975)). Where a board of contract appeals finds that a contracting officer's default termination decision is arbitrary and capricious, it has the authority to set the decision aside. 27/ Darwin Construction Company, Inc. v. United States, supra, 811 F.2d at 596. 28/ See also, Schlesinger v. United States, supra, 390 F.2d at 709; Executive Elevator Service, Inc., supra, 87-2 BCA ¶ 19,849, at 100,438. 2. Even if the Appellant was technically in default here, the Board would still overturn the Contracting Officer because the facts show that he acted arbitrarily and abused his discretion in terminating the contract. 3. As previously noted, although the Contracting Officer states that one factor in his decision to default the Appellant was the output information obtained by the ACOE from Portland Ad, the customer-agency did not send the duplicate cartridge to its local service bureau for testing until January 2, 1992, after the Appellant's contract was terminated (R4 File, Tab G). 29/ See, SRPPO Memorandum, p. 2. 4. Even though the Contracting Officer was aware that the Appellant was having a problem with the Government-furnished computer cartridge before he spoke to Cone on December 31, 1991, 30/ his decision to terminate the contract for default did not take that fact into consideration. 5. The Contracting Officer did not consider the Appellant's offer to cure the situation under a new contract delivery schedule, although it was clear that any reprocurement would not have the books printed and to the ACOE any sooner, and in fact, the reprocured job cost the Government 50% more to complete. Darwin Construction Company, Inc. v. United States, supra, 811 F.2d at 599. 6. Perhaps most importantly, the Board sees nothing in the record that would show the Contracting Officer considered the "eight required regulatory factors," which must be taken into account before a contract may be terminated for default. 31/ PPR, Chap. XIV, Sec. 1, ¶ 3.c.(3)(i)-(viii). The Board believes that three of the eight provisions are of particular significance in this case; i.e., PPR, Chap. XIV, Sec. 1, ¶ 3.c.(3)(ii), (iv) and (viii). They read, respectively, as follows: (ii) The specific failure of the contractor and the excuses, if any, made by the contractor for such failure; * * * * * * * * * * (iv) The urgency of the need for the supplies or services and the period of time which would be required to obtain sources as compared with the time in which delivery could be obtained from the delinquent contractor; * * * * * * * * * * (viii) Any other pertinent facts and circumstances. 32/ The law in this instance is clear-the failure to comply with these regulations is a factor to be considered in determining whether a contracting officer committed an abuse of discretion in taking an action which has the most serious consequences for a contractor; i.e., termination for default. Darwin Construction Company, Inc. v. United States, supra, 811 F.2d at 598; Executive Elevator Service, Inc., supra, 87-2 BCA ¶ 19,849, at 100,438. 7. Finally, the haste with which the Contracting Officer defaulted the Appellant's contract - he spoke to the Appellant, wrote to the CRB seeking approval to terminate the contract, and issued his termination letter all on same day (December 31, 1991) - suggests to the Board that he was impelled to act by a desire to mollify Ouchida. However, the wish to mollify a customer- agency is no basis for defaulting a contractor. Colorgraphics Corporation, GPO BCA 16-87 (March 31, 1987), Sl. op. at 24 (¶ 5). DECISION The Board finds and concludes that the Respondent has not proved that the Appellant was in default at the time of termination. Moreover, even if a default existed, the Contracting Officer acted arbitrarily and abused his discretion to terminate the contract in this case. THEREFORE, the decision of the Contracting officer is REVERSED, and the appeal is allowed. The termination for default is converted to a termination for the convenience of the Government, and is REMANDED to the Contracting Officer with instructions to negotiate a settlement of payment to be made to the Appellant accordingly. American Drafting & Laminating Co, GPO BCA 6-85 (April 15, 1986), Sl. op. at 17; Pennsylvania Printed Products, supra, Sl. op. 14. It is so Ordered. _______________ 1. The Contracting Officer's appeal file, assembled pursuant to Rule 4 of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, was delivered to the Board on April 10, 1992. GPO Instruction 110.12, Subject: Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure, dated September 17, 1984 (Board Rules), Rule 4. It will be referred to hereafter as the R4 File, with an appropriate Tab letter also indicated. As originally submitted, the R4 File consisted of four documents identified as Tab A through Tab D. However, at the prehearing telephone conference held on April 13, 1992, Counsel for GPO stated that the R4 File had been collected in a hurry because of the short time available under the Small Claims (Expedited) Procedure, and he reserved the right to submit additional documents for the file. See, Prehearing Conference Report, dated April 29, 1992, p. 2, fn. 1 (hereinafter PCR). In that regard, Counsel for GPO also told the Board that he would supplement the R4 File by furnishing additional documents to support the Respondent's position that: (1) the Government- furnished material was adequate to enable the Appellant to adhere to the contract schedule; and (2) GPO's Contract Review Board (CRB) had duly approved the Contracting Officer's proposed termination action before the "Notice of Termination" was issued on December 31, 1991. See, PCR, p. 7. On May 27, 1992, the Board received three documents from Counsel for GPO - two memoranda and a statement from an employee of the customer- agency, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). These documents have been made part of the R4 File and labeled Tabs E, F and G. It should be noted that Tabs C and E are copies of the same document - the Contracting Officer's memorandum, dated December 31, 1991, to the Respondent's CRB requesting approval for his decision to terminate the Appellant's contract. See, note 10 infra. Tab E has the date and initials of the CRB members approving the Contracting Officer's termination action. 2. In this case the Appellant had elected the Board's Small Claims (Expedited) Procedure. Board Rules, Rules 12.1(a), (c) and 12.2. See, Appellant's Election to Proceed Under Small Claims Procedure, dated March 30, 1992. Since the amount in dispute - $8,870.00 - does not exceed the $10,000.00 limit prescribed under the Small Claims (Expedited) Procedure in Board Rules 12.1(a), the Board has ruled that the matter is appropriate for resolution under that procedure. Board Rules, Rule 12.1(d). See, PCR, p.4, fn. 2. 3. In accordance with the Board rules concerning the Small Claims (Expedited) Procedure, the Board's decision and order here contains only summary findings of fact and conclusions. Board Rules, Rule 12.2(c). Furthermore, the decision and order in this case shall have no value as precedent in future appeals considered by the Board. Board Rules, Rule 12.2(d). 4. At the telephone conference held on April 13, 1992, Counsel for the Appellant explained that the PageMaker program is a commonly used software for making full-page layouts, storing them magnetically and then translating them to a printer to make negatives. This program is well known in the printing industry and is now available for use both on IBM and Macintosh equipment. The program was developed by a firm called Aldus. See, Report of Telephone Conference Under Small Claims (Expedited) Procedure, dated April 29, 1992, at pp. 4-5 (hereinafter RTC). 5. According to the Contracting Officer, it is not GPO's practice to specify the date proofs are due; instead, each contractor is responsible for allowing enough time for the proofing process, production and delivery, within the contract schedule. See, Memorandum from Manager, Seattle RPPO to the U.S. Board of Contract Appeals, dated May 8, 1992, Subject: Docket No. GPO BCA 13-92, p. 1. (SRPPO Memorandum). 6. It seems from Ouchida's declaration that she was unaware that Purchase Order R-9440 did not contain a firm date by which the Appellant was to furnish proofs to the ACOE for review and pre- printing approval (R4 File, Tab G) ("After the date by which proofs had been requested and had not yet been received, I contacted the GPO Seattle RPPO. . . . [and was told to] contact the printer directly."). 7. The Contracting Officer denies that Cone informed him of the defects in the Government-furnished computer cartridge during this conversation. SRPPO Memorandum, p. 1. However, he must have been aware that there was some problem with the cartridge because it was one matter addressed by the Appellant and Ouchida in their discussion (although without going into specifics) (R4 File, Tab G). A reasonable supposition, therefore, is that Ouchida mentioned it to the Contracting Officer when she called him and asked him to look into the situation. 8. In his Affidavit, Cone described the two problems as follows: "Problem [No.] 1-[T]he coin artwork appearing on pages 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 32, 34, 36, and 38 was created in Aldus Freehand and placed into Aldus Pagemaker as a PICT file which is not recommended by Aldus when the intention is to print the file to a postscript high resolution printer. . . . When page 2, . . . containing seven PICT files was processed for high resolution film output, it became apparent that a problem with the PICT files existed. Being an ALDUS Registered Service Bureau, we contacted the Aldus Technical Support group and after consulting, it was determined that all PICT files would have to be replaced with EPS files. [See, Aldus PrePrint User Manual, Version 1.5 for Apple Macintosh Computers, p. 56 (Aldus Manual).]. . . Problem [No.] 2-The VE Master small artwork used on the front cover as well as on opening chapter pages, was incorrectly constructed. Had the agency operator lasered out color break pages, the problem would have been evident. . . . Artwork was created using an outline which was assigned as a black printer and a fill which was assigned as a spot color. This caused the artwork to improperly print out on 2 different color printers. [Aldus Manual, p. 76.]" 9. Ouchida also admits that the "Special Printing Requirements," prepared by the ACOE had misidentified the software versions for illustrations as Adobe 3.0 and Freehand 4.0, instead of 3.01 and 4.01, respectively, but claims that either version should have been importable into Aldus PrePrint (R4 File, Tabs A and G). 10. Under GPO's Printing Procurement Regulation, the Contracting Officer must submit a proposal to terminate a contract for default to the CRB for its review and concurrence. Printing Procurement Regulation, GPO Publication 305.3 (September 1, 1988), Chap. I, Sec. 10, ¶ 4.b.(i) (PPR). However, the regulation also allows the Contracting Officer to take an action contrary to the position of the CRB, provided that the CRB's Chairperson is promptly notified and the reasons for the contrary action are reduced to writing and made part of the permanent file. Id., ¶ 3.b. 11. Although the Contracting Officer claims that one factor in his decision to default the Appellant was the output information obtained by the ACOE from Portland Ad, the Board observes that the customer-agency did not send the duplicate cartridge to its local service bureau for testing until January 2, 1992, the first work day after the Appellant's contract was terminated (December 31, 1991) (R4 File, Tab G). 12. Since the CRB is located in GPO's central office, and there is a three-hour time difference between Washington, DC and Seattle, the Board assumes that the Contracting Officer sent his concurrence memorandum to the CRB by facsimile transmission and obtained same day approval from the members in the same manner (R4 File, Tab E). 13. The Appellant received the Contracting Officer's termination letter by facsimile transmission late on December 31, 1991. Appellant's Brief, dated June 12, 1992, p. 2 (App. Brf.). 14. The record on which the Board's decision is based consists of: (1) the Notice of Appeal, dated March 30, 1992; (2) the R4 File (Tabs A-G); (3) the Statement of the Appellant's Claim, dated May 12, 1992; (4) the Memorandum from Manager, Seattle RPPO to the U.S. Board of Contract Appeals, dated May 8, 1992, Subject: Docket No. GPO BCA 13-92; (5) the Answer, dated May 27, 1992; (6) the Report of Telephone Conference, dated April 29, 1992; (7) the Appellant's Brief, dated June 12, 1992; and (8) the Respondent's Brief, dated June 12, 1992. 15. Default terminations - as a species of forfeiture - are strictly construed. See, D. Joseph DeVito v. United States, 188 Ct.Cl. 979, 413 F.2d 1147, 1153 (1969). See also, Murphy, et al. v. United States, 164 Ct.Cl. 332 (1964); J. D. Hedin Construction Co. v. United States, 187 Ct.Cl. 45, 408 F.2d 424 (1969). 16. While the excusable events listed in the "Default" clause, all of which must be beyond the control and without the fault or negligence of the contractor, are set forth in the context of relieving the contractor from responsibility for excess reprocurement costs, it is well-settled that the same occurrences operate to extend the time available for performance and makes termination prior to that time improper. See, e.g., FKC Engineering Company, ASBCA No. 14856, 70-1 BCA ¶ 8,312. 17. The Board takes judicial notice that the contract performance period in this case - December 19, 1991 to January 3, 1992 - contained the Christmas and New Year's holidays, which fell on consecutive Wednesdays. Furthermore, experience tells us that while December 24, 1991, and December 31, 1991, may have been nominal workdays, as a rule little work is accomplished on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve in the typical Government agency or business firm. Hence, unless the Appellant worked weekends on the contract, four workdays were effectively subtracted from the total contract performance period of 12 workdays. Stephenson, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 24, fn. 27; American Drafting and Laminating Company, GPO BCA 6-85 (June 26, 1986), Sl. op. at 15. Also see, Powerline Oil Company, EBCA Nos. 278, 280-283, 290, 296, 300-305, 307, 321, 91-2 BCA ¶ 23,789. 18. In Stephenson, Inc., the Board observed that the omission of a "show cause notice" by the Government is not a procedural defect to a termination based on the contractor's failure to make timely deliveries or perform timely services). GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 20.(a)(1)(i). See, e.g., Kit Pack Company, Inc., supra, at 111,486-87 (citing, H. N. Bailey & Associates, ASBCA No. 21,300, 77-2 BCA ¶ 12,681, at 61,553). On the other hand, use of a show cause notice is required when practicable. Lewis B. Udis v. United States, 7 Cl. Ct. 379, 385-86 (1985). See, PPR, Chap. XIV, Sec. 1, ¶ 3.c.(1). 19. The Respondent's alternative argument based on doctrine of "anticipatory repudiation" is unsupported by this record. Respondent's Brief, dated June 12, 1992, p. 4 (R. Brf). As the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals stated in Fairfield Scientific Corporation: "The hallmark of anticipatory repudiation is that there must be a 'definite and unequivocal manifestion of intention on the part of the repudiator that he will not render the promised performance when the time fixed for it in the contract arrives.' Corbin on Contracts § 973. Therefore, to constitute an anticipatory repudiation the alleged repudiator's words or conduct must manifest 'a positive, unconditional, and unequivocal declaration of fixed purpose not to perform the contract in any event or at any time.' Dingley v. Oler, 117 U.S. 490, 503 (1886)." Fairfield Scientific Corporation, supra, 78-1 BCA ¶ 13,082, at 63,908. See also, Beeston, Inc., ASBCA No. 38969, 91-3 BCA ¶ 24,241. Instead of "a positive, unconditional, and unequivocal declaration of fixed purpose not to perform the contract in any event or at any time," the record in this case is replete with evidence that the Appellant remained, at all times, ready and willing to perform the contract; indeed, when the contract was terminated it had already corrected the problems with the computer cartridge and was trying to work out an alternative schedule to get the books to the ACOE in time for the January 10, 1992, meeting. 20. It should be noted, however, that the right to terminate does not necessarily arise from a missed milestone. Ubique, Ltd., DOTCAB No. 71-28, 72-1 BCA ¶ 9,340.). 21. Although the Board shares the view expressed by the Contracting Officer regarding the Contractor's responsibilities under this contract, it does not subscribe to his opinion that "[i]t is not GPO's practice to specify the date proofs are due, . . .". SRPPO Memorandum, p. 1. While the Contracting Officer's statement has some surface support in the fact that the "Proof Required" Box on GPO Form 2676 has no date line, the Board believes that his interpretation of GPO practice is too sweeping. The Board has observed in other cases that other contracting officers have, in fact, written in a date for proofs to be received in the "Proof Required" Box. See, e.g., Blaine Hudson Printing, GPO 06-92 (August 13, 1992). Therefore, the Board sees the matter as not so much one of practice, but rather as a contracting officer's preference based on the particular circumstances of each procurement. However, as the Board has stated on numerous occasions, its authority is purely derivative and contractual, and it must decide disputes within the parameters of the contract under review. See, e.g, B. P. Printing and Office Supplies, GPO BCA 14-91 (August 10, 1992), Sl. op. at 14; R. C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, GPO BCA 15-90 (March 6, 1992), Sl. op. at 27; The Wessel Company, GPO BCA 08-90 (February 28, 1992), Sl. op. at 32-33; Bay Printing, Inc., GPO BCA 16-85 (January 10, 1987), Sl. op. at 9; Peake Printers, Inc., GPO BCA 12-85 (November 12, 1986), Sl. op. at 6. 22. There is also agreement by the parties that the "Special Printing Requirements," had misidentified the software versions for illustrations as Adobe 3.0 and Freehand 4.0, instead of 3.01 and 4.01, respectively. See, note 9 supra. 23. Questions relating to the weight of the evidence in the record are matters wholly within the discretion of the Board. Board Rules, Rule 13 (c). B. P. Printing and Office Supplies, supra, Sl. op. at 22. See, Board Rules, Rule 20. 24. While denying that the Government-furnished computer cartridge was defective, the Respondent also contends that under the "Government Furnished Property" clause of GPO Contract Terms, the Appellant had a duty to notify the Contracting Officer of that fact, implying that the Contractor's failure to do so is somehow fatal to its appeal. GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 7 (Government Furnished Property). R. Brf., pp. 2-3. See also, RTC, p. 7. Among other things, the "Government Furnished Property" clause tells us that: (1) failure of a contractor to bring any discrepancies in Government-furnished property to the attention of the Contracting Officer will not relieve it of performance; and (2) any disagreement over the discrepancy between the Contracting Officer and the contractor is covered by "Disputes" clause. GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 5 (Disputes). Therefore, contrary to the Respondent, the Board sees nothing in the "Government Furnished Property" clause which would foreclose the Appellant's pursuit of this appeal, particularly since the Government was not prejudiced by the lack of notice. Cf., Michael, Inc., ASBCA No. 35653, 92-1 BCA ¶ 24,412; Togaroli Corporation, ASBCA Nos. 32995 and 32996, 89-2 BCA ¶ 21,864, mot. for reconsider. den. 89-3 BCA ¶ 22,102. 25. The Board is compelled to observe that the Appellant and the Contracting Officer (and the ACOE) were at opposite ends of the country. Therefore, there is some merit to the Appellant's claim that the contract was behind schedule from the beginning because the Government-furnished material, which was sent by Federal Express on December 20, 1991, was not delivered until Saturday, December 21, 1991. App. Brf., p. 1. The record does not reveal whether the cartridge defects were discovered on the date of delivery, or on the next workday, Monday, December 23, 1992. In any event, however, the Board believes that the real reason for the Appellant's delay in furnishing page proofs was its need to correct the cartridge, not the late start due to the late delivery of the Government-furnished material (R4 File, Tabs A and G). 26. In light of the Board's finding that the Appellant was not in default, it is unnecessary to address the issue in this appeal concerning whether or not the Appellant is excused from liability for excess reprocurement costs. 27. The cases speak in terms of a board's "statutory" authority to set aside the arbitrary and capricious default decisions of contracting officers. Darwin Construction Company, Inc. v. United States, supra, 811 F.2d at 596; Executive Elevator Service, Inc., supra, 87-2 BCA ¶ 19,849, at 100,438. The authorities are referring, of course, to boards of contract appeals established pursuant to the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, Pub. L. 95-563 (November 1, 1978), 92 Stat. 2383, 41 U.S.C. § 601 et seq. The Board is not a creature of statute, but rather its authority is purely derivative and contractual. The Wessel Company, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 32-33 (citing, Peake Printers, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 6). See also, Automated Datatron, Inc., GPO BCA 20-87 (March 31, 1989), Sl. op. at 4-5; Bay Printing, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 9. For GPO, the statutory authority to enter and administer contracts is vested in the Public Printer of the United States. See, 44 U.S.C. §§ 301, 309, 501, 502 (1982). GPO Instruction 110.10C, Subject: Establishment of the Board of Contract Appeals, dated September 17, 1984, ¶ 3. The Public Printer, however, has delegated his authority to decide contract appeals to the Board, which can act as fully and finally as might the Public Printer. Id., ¶ 5. See also, Board Rules, Preface to Rules, ¶ I (Jurisdiction for Considering Appeals). Therefore, because the Board is acting on behalf of the Public Printer in these appeals, its authority to set aside arbitrary and capricious default decisions also has a "statutory" foundation. 28. In Darwin the Court specifically rejected the following statement by the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals in the underlying decision [Darwin Construction Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 29340, 86-2 BCA ¶ 18,959 at 95,733]: "[O]nce the right to termination is acquired by the Government and if that right is not lost by the Government because of its conduct, the Board will uphold the termination for default without any inquiry by the Board into the 'motives' or judgment of the contracting officer leading to the decision to terminate [relying on Nuclear Research Associates, Inc., ASBCA No. 13563, 70-1 BCA ¶ 8,237]." The Court stated, in pertinent part: "If we correctly understand the purport and effect of that decision, we cannot agree with it, because we think it is in conflict with the decisions of the Court of Claims, as well as the decisions of the Claims Court . . . . Also, it is our opinion that it imposes an erroneous limitation on the statutory authority of boards of contract appeals to set aside default decisions of contracting officers in cases where the boards find that such decisions are arbitrary or capricious." Darwin Construction Company, Inc. v. United States, supra, 811 F.2d at 599. 29. See, note 11 supra. 30. See, note 7 supra. 31. PPR, Chap. XIV, Sec. 1, ¶ 3.c.(3) lists eight factors which "[t]he Contracting Officer shall consider" in determining whether to terminate a contract for default: (i) the provisions of the contract and applicable laws and regulations; (ii) the specific failure of the contractor and the excuses, if any, made by the contractor for such failure; (iii) the availability of the supplies or services from other sources; (iv) the urgency of the need for the supplies or services and the period of time which would be required to obtain sources as compared with the time in which delivery could be obtained from the delinquent contractor; (v) the effect of a termination for default upon the contractor's capability as a supplier under other contracts; (vi) the effect of a termination for default on the ability of the contractor to liquidate progress payments; (vii) the availability of funds to finance repurchase costs which may prove uncollectible from the defaulted contractor, and the availability of funds to finance termination costs if the default is determined to be excusable; and (viii) any other pertinent facts and circumstances. See also, FAR § 49.402-3(f)(1)-(7). 32. For example, the fact that the contract performance period here was brief-only 12 workdays-and included the Christmas and New Year's holidays. See, note 17 supra.