U.S. Government Printing Office
Board of Contract Appeals
Panel 16-79

I.   Appeal of Admiral Envelope and Printing Company, Inc.

This appeal was filed on June 21, 1979 by Admiral Envelope and
Printing Company, Inc., 401 E. Oliver Street, Baltimore, Maryland
21202, hereinafter referred to as the contractor, under the
disputes clause of the U.S. Government Printing Office Contract
for Marginally Punched Continuous Forms, Article 2.27 "Disputes."

II.   Issue Presented.

The issue presented is whether the Government Printing Office,
hereinafter referred to as GPO, properly rejected the initial
printing of envelopes produced on Jackets 275-400 and 275-401,
Purchase Order Nos. 41882 and 41884.  As a result of these
rejections and subsequent reprinting by the contractor, the
contractor submitted a bill for $4,779.32 to cover the cost of
materials of the rejected envelopes which was denied by GPO.

III.   Sequence of Events.

Based on the written submissions of the contractor and GPO, the
following sequence of events can be established:

On approximately January 12, 1979, invitations for bids for the
foregoing jackets were telephoned by GPO an-d described the
production of 300,000 envelopes and 50,000 envelopes, 3-5/8 x
6-1/2 inches and 3-7/8 x 8-7/8 inches, respectively.  All
envelopes were required to be manufactured from White 100% Fine
Writing Paper, sub. 56, printed blue and affixed, 2 up, flap
open, to a suitable backing sheet in a manner which would allow
removal without damage and leave no visible residue when the
envelopes were sealed.

The contracts were awarded to the contractor, the only bidder for
either requirement, on January 12, 1979, for $10,532.50 for
Jacket 275-400 and $2,343.75 for Jacket 275-401.  Five other
prospective bidders were solicited on each jacket, but did not
submit bids.

On approximately March 20, 1979, the GPO was advised by the
customer agency that the envelopes were rejected because of poor
printing quality.  Subsequent to the contractor being informed of
the customer rejection, the contractor verbally verified that all
the envelopes were printed letterpress and that the quality was
equal throughout the orders.

An examination of the printed envelopes selected at random and
furnished by the customer and the contractor, was made by the
contracting officer's technical representative.  As a result, it
was concluded that the printing was generally poor.

The contractor verbally objected to this conclusion citing that
the printing was commercially acceptable and that the GPO did not
specify a particular printing process.  These objections were
denied.  By letter dated April 10, 1979, the contracting officer
rejected the orders.

Although the contractor disputed the rejection, they progressed
with reprinting.  The contractor reasserted their position by
letter dated May 10, 1979 and requested $4,779.32 to cover the
cost of materials.  This request was denied.

IV.   Findings.

Our review of the facts and evidence presented by the parties in
the case file indicate that the GPO was remiss in this case for
the following reasons:

a.   There is no evidence that "first class" workmanship was
discussed during the telephone solicitation nor is there any
requirement or notation on the telephone bid form for "first
class." Further, no printed sample was furnished from the
previous printing, nor was a prior to production sample
requested.  A "White House" requirement should merit some special
attention by the contracting officer to insure the quality of the
printed product.

b.   In the normal course of Government contracting, it is the
responsibility of the contracting officer to solicit bids from a
sufficient number of bidders depending on the complexity and
value of the procurement to assure adequate competition.  The
previous supplier is generally invited to bid on procurements of
reprints and term contracts.

There is no evidence that this procedure was followed nor is
there any evidence that a determination was made that the bid was
in exact accordance with specifications, that the price was fair
and reasonable, or that a GPO estimate was prepared and that the
bid was in line with the estimate.

c.   As part of our review, we asked the GPO if there was a
previous printing.  If so, we requested that we be provided the
contractor's name, quantity, price, and printed samples.  By
memorandum dated December 19, 1979, we were advised that the
White House had previously purchased these products directly from
Word Pro Products, Inc. of St. Louis, Missouri which is now
defunct and that printed samples from that procurement were no
longer available.

d.   A comparison of the costs of the previous printing provided
by Word Pro Products, Inc. and the bid offer from Admiral
Envelope and Printing Company, Inc. shows a difference of
approximately $18,009.  See below:

   Contractor   and Size   Price

   Word Pro Products, Inc.   321,300   $25,299.00
      (3-5/8 x 6-1/2")
      55,000   5,585.00
      (3-7/8 x 8-7/8")


   Admiral Envelope and   300,000   $10,532.00
    Printing Company, Inc.   (3-5/8 x 6-1/2")
      50,000   2,343.00
      (3-7/8 x 8-7/8")


This comparison clearly indicates that the offer (bid) submitted
by the Admiral Envelope and Printing Company, Inc. was so out of
line to have charged the contracting officer with actual or
constructive knowledge of a potential error or the possibility
that the Government's offer was not accepted unequivocally.

V.   Decision.

We hold in favor of the contractor and sustain the appeal.  The
matter is remanded to the contracting officer for appropriate
action in accordance with this decision.

   Chairman, Contract Appeals Board
   Panel 16-79

   Member, Contract Appeals Board

   Member, Contract Appeals Board

   February 13, 1980