U.S. Government Printing Office
Office of the General Counsel
Contract Appeals Board

Appeal of Wickersham Printing Company

February 26, 1975

Alan S. Zuckerman
Associate General Counsel

Reference is made to the appeal to the Public Printer from the
final decision of the contracting officer rejecting the original
printing and requiring the reprinting of the pamphlet purchased
under GPO Jacket 522-037.  Such appeal was made pursuant to the
"Disputes" clause of the contract.  This is the decision of the
Office of the General Counsel of the U. S. Government Printing
Office, the authorized representative of the Public Printer for
the determination of such appeals.

For the reasons set forth herein, the appeal has been denied.

The firm fixed price contract in the amount of $16,923 for the
production of the Spanish version of 510,000 pamphlets entitled,
our Social Security for the Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare (DHEW) was awarded to Wickersham Printing Company by GPO
Purchase Order 54580, dated November 7, 1973.  The contract
required that the GPO furnish one complete set of offset film
negatives only, and that all other materials required for the
production of the aforesaid contract requirements was the
obligation of the contractor.  Among the contract requirements
was that proof be furnished prior to the production of the

The record indicates that the Government furnished negatives as
required by the contract, and that the contractor mailed proofs
to the GPO by mid November, 1973.  There is no evidence on the
record to show that a written "okay to print" was ever furnished
to the contractor.

After receipt of the proofs from the contractor, GPO records
indicate that such proofs were furnished to DHEW for checking.
Records show that the DHEW was unable to return the proofs
because of pending legislation which, if enacted, would have
extensively revised the copy required for the booklet.  Approved
proofs were never returned from the Department to the GPO.

The contractor asserted that on November 29, 1973, he received a
verbal "okay to print" from representatives of GPO, and in
accordance with that approval, he printed and shipped the
contract quantity.  Upon receipt, DHEW discovered that the
booklets shipped did not meet its requirements, and advised the
GPO that it would not accept the materials furnished.

In mid January, 1974 a representative of the GPO called the
contractor to see if it had a written "okay to print." No
evidence of such written approval has been furnished by the

On January 24, 1974, the contracting officer by letter advised
the contractor that the government records indicated that the
contractor had shipped the pamphlets without receiving approval
of proofs submitted as required by the contract.  On April 2, the
contractor by letter was advised to print the job using new
negatives furnished by the government.  On April 5, 1974,
contractor was furnished shipping instructions.  The job was
subsequently printed and delivered as required.

At a hearing held on December 26, 1974, it became apparent that
the only factual controversy regarding the entire sequence of
events was whether or not the contractor received an oral "okay
to print."  There was no controversy that it is standard trade
practice to require an "okay to print" prior to production when
proofs are required of a printer, or that the contractor in good
faith believed he had received the necessary approval.

Statements made by GPO representatives showed that it was the
normal, ordinary business practice at the GPO not to furnish "an
okay to print" without having first received the marked up proofs
from the Department concerned; that although oral approvals are
sometimes given in the interest of saving time, such oral advice
is always followed by written confirmation.  It was stated that
such a practice is required to avoid any confusion regarding
Department approvals or disapprovals which could result if such
written documentation had not been previously received.  It was
further stated that as of the date of the hearing, the original
proofs had not been returned to the GPO from the Department.

The contractor has offered no evidence to rebut the standard
business practice stated above.  Absent such evidence, there is
no basis upon which to controvert the government's testimony that
no oral approval had been furnished the contractor as alleged and
consequently there is no basis upon which to reverse the decision
of the contracting officer rejecting the original printing and
requiring the contractor to furnish the corrected materials.

The appeal is, therefore, denied.