U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS The Appeal Of AUTOMATED DATATRON, INC. Docket No. GPO BCA 20-87 March 31, 1989 MICHAEL F. DiMARIO Administrative Law Judge ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS Having heard and duly considered both "Respondent's Motion to Dismiss" the above-captioned appeal and Appellant's "Opposition" thereto, it is the Board's opinion that it lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter of the appeal for the following reasons: (1) The Board does not derive its jurisdictional authority from the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, 41 U.S.C. § 601 et seq., as alleged by Appellant, and therefore cannot avail itself of the remedies of that act; (2) The Board derives its jurisdictional authority solely from GPO Instruction 110.10C, which in pertinent part provides: 1. Purpose. To establish a Board of Contract Appeals for the U.S. Government Printing Office and to outline the functions of that Board. . . . . 3. Statutory Authority. The United States Government Printing Office (hereinafter GPO) is an Office in the legislative branch of the United States Government. United States v. Allison, 91 U.S. 372 (1876); Lewis v. Sawyer, C.A. No. 82-2869, Memorandum at 3 (D.D.C. Dec. 20, 1982); Thompson v. Sawyer, 678 F.2d 257 (D.C. Cir. 1982); McKenzie v. Sawyer, 648 F.2d 257 (D.C. Cir. 1982), Comp. Gen. Op. B-208272 (1983); Comp. Gen. Op. B-152126 (1963); 36 Comp. Gen. 163 (1956); 34 Comp. Gen. 485 (1955). As such, GPO contract disputes are not subject to procedures prescribed by the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U. S.C. § 551 et seq. (1982), or the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, Pub. L. 95-563, 92 Stat. 2383-91 (codified at 41 U.S.C. §§ 601-613 (1982)). The GPO is under the direction and supervision of the Public Printer of the United States, whose statutory and administrative powers include the authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the United States and to make final administrative determinations regarding such contracts. See 44 U.S.C. §§ 301, 309, 501, 502 (1982). 4. Establishment of the U.S. Government Printing Office Board of Contract Appeals. Pursuant to the statutory and administrative powers of the Public Printer, there is hereby established the U. S. Government Printing Office Board of Contract Appeals (hereinafter the Board). 5. Jurisdiction of the Board. The Board shall consider and determine appeals from final decisions of Contracting Officers relating to contracts which contain provisions requiring the determination of appeals by the Public Printer, or his duly authorized representative or board. By agreement, the Board may also consider and determine appeals from decisions of other legislative branch Contracting Officers made pursuant to their contracts. In addition, the Board shall have jurisdiction over such other procurement related matters as may be assigned to it by the Public Printer. The Board has authority to determine appeals falling within the scope of its jurisdiction as fully and finally as might the Public Printer. . . . . 7. Decisions of the Board . . . . b. When an appeal is taken pursuant to a Disputes clause of a contract which limits appeals to disputes concerning questions of fact, the Board may, in its discretion, hear, consider, and decide all questions of law necessary for the complete adjudication of the appeal. In the consideration of an appeal, should it appear that a claim is involved which is not cognizable by the Board, the Board may make findings of fact with respect to such claims without expressing an opinion on the question of liability. (Emphasis added.) (3) Page 2 of the "General Terms, Conditions and Specifications" of the Program B154-S contract provides in pertinent part that: "Any contract which results from this Invitation for Bid will be subject to all terms and conditions of U.S. Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. 1, Rev. Oct. 1980 (GPO Pub. 310.2). In case of conflict between these specifications and Contract Terms No. 1, these specifications will govern." In turn, the said U.S. Government Printing Office "Contract Terms No. 1" provides in pertinent part that: 2-3. Disputes (a) Except as otherwise provided in the contract, any dispute concerning a question of fact related to the contract which is not disposed of by agreement shall be decided by the Contracting Officer, who shall make his/her decision in writing and mail or otherwise furnish a copy thereof to the contractor. The decision of the Contracting Officer shall be final and conclusive unless, within 90 days from the date of receipt of such copy, the contractor mails or otherwise furnishes to the Contracting Officer a written appeal addressed to the Public Printer. The decision of the Public Printer, or a duly authorized representative for the determination of such appeals, shall be final and conclusive unless determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to have been fraudulent, or capricious, or arbitrary, or so grossly erroneous as necessarily to imply bad faith, or not supported by substantial evidence. . . . . (b) This "Disputes" article does not preclude consideration of law questions in connection with decisions provided for in the paragraph above: Provided, That nothing in the contract shall be construed as making final the decision of any administrative official, representative, or board on a question of law. (Emphasis added.) (4) The Board, upon its examination of Appellant's "Notice of Appeal," and Exhibits A and B, has determined that such documents are insufficient to support Appellant's jurisdictional characterization of Exhibit B as "the final decision of Linwood Imlay, Contracting Officer, . . . GPO . . . made in the last ninety (90) days, refusing to make routine payments on vouchers . . . (Exhibit A), as submitted and certified." None of the documents of Exhibit A are addressed to Mr. Imlay, nor are any of the documents of Exhibit B signed by him. To impute a "final decision" to Mr. Imlay from such facts in order to invoke the jurisdiction of this Board under the "Disputes" clause of the contract is unwarranted. The appropriate means for securing a final written decision on a disputed question of fact is to first demand such decision from the contracting officer. If, after such demand, the contracting officer fails to comply, a contractor may invoke the jurisdiction of this Board to compel such decision under the provision of Rule 1 of this Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, GPO 110.12, September 17, 1984. Neither Appellant's "Notice of Appeal" nor "Complaint" evidence that such action has been taken. (5) The Public Printer has not under the provision of paragraph 5 of GPO Instruction 110.10C delegated authority to this Board to consider legal questions existing outside the contract itself. Therefore, the Board is without authority to consider whether Respondent has violated the procedural requirements of the Claims Collection Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3716, as established by Appellant in its "Notice of Appeal" and "Complaint." (6) Appellant, itself, by its specific statement on page 3 of its said "Opposition" that it "does not seek damages for breach of contract -- it merely seeks payment pursuant to the various contracts it has entered into with GPO.", moots the necessity of this Board deciding whether or not it has authority over breach of contract matters. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED that the appeal be and the same is hereby dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by this Board over the subject matter of the appeal.