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 pamphlets. 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 contractor. 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.