The Appeal of Automated Datatron, Inc.
Docket No. GPO BCA 3-87
March 31, 1989

Michael F. DiMario
Administrative Law Judge


     This appeal, timely filed by Automated Datatron, Inc.
     (Appellant), 4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville, MD  20781,
     dated January 27, 1987, is from the final decision of Jack
     Scott, Contracting Officer (CO), U.S. Government Printing
     Office, Washington, DC  20401 (Respondent), dated January
     20, 1987, completely terminating contract Purchase Order
     70019, Program C151-S, Jacket No. 181-554, for default
     because of Appellant's "continuing failure to comply with
     the delivery and Quality Assurance requirements."  The
     appeal is denied and the decision of the CO is affirmed for
     the reasons set forth hereinbelow.


     Appellant was competitively awarded the Program C151-S
     single-award term contract by Purchase Order 70019 dated
     August 27, 1986, to produce such Federal Register microfiche
     as might be requisitioned from Respondent by the Office of
     Federal Register during the term October 1, 1986, to
     September 30, 1987.  The contract in the amount of
     $84,324.10 was made in strict accordance with Appellant's
     quotation of August 18, 1986, and Respondent's
     specifications.  (Rule 4 File, hereinafter "R4 File," Tab

     On October 6, 1986, the CO sent Appellant a letter stating
     that an examination of microfiche samples produced by
     Appellant under Print Order 60000 reflected the defects
     shown on an inspection report attached thereto and that
     based on such defects, the work had been determined to be
     rejectable and would require remanufacturing by Appellant in
     strict accordance with the specifications and at no
     additional cost to the Government. (Ninety-one such
     complaint letters, including the referenced letter, were
     sent to the Appellant from October 6, 1986, through January
     22, 1987, on various print orders numbering 60000 through
     60078.)  (R4 File, Tab F.)

     By letter dated October 9, 1986, referencing Print Orders
     60000 through, and including 60003, the CO notified
     Appellant that he considered Appellant's failure to comply
     with the quality attributes and delivery schedule of the
     specifications to be a condition that was endangering the
     performance of the contract in accordance with its terms.
     The notice gave the Appellant 10 days from its receipt to
     advise Respondent of the measures it had taken or was then
     taking to cure such condition.  The notice also advised
     Appellant that unless such condition had been cured, the
     Government might terminate the contract for default pursuant
     to the contract's "default" clause.  (R4 File, Tab G.)  A
     second "Cure Notice" on Print Order 60002 was sent to
     Appellant by the CO on November 5, 1986.  (R4 File, Tab H.)

     In response to the second cure notice, Appellant's T.D.
     Marlatt, Vice President, by letter dated November 14, 1986,
     advised the CO that:

     Sample copies for the Print Order were initially rejected
     because the length of the first and second generation
     microfiche were not within specifications (147.25-148.0mm).
     The second submission was rejected again for length.
     The next sample provided GPO was rejected for loss of data
     on the second and third generation.
     Subsequently the 3rd generation samples were accepted on
     October 23rd and the second generation submission accepted
     on the 24th.  Distribution copies were prepared when the 3rd
     generation was accepted.
     Techniques have been established which now make it possible
     for ADI to evaluate microfiche dimensions, and other
     attributes, in essentially the same manner as GPO quality
     assurance personnel.  Repeated submissions of samples are
     thus avoided.

R4 File, Tab I.

     A "Cure Notice" respecting Print Orders 60028, 60029, and
     60039 was sent to Appellant by the CO on November 26, 1986.
     (R4 File, Tab J.)  In response to this "Cure Notice"
     Marlatt, on December 5, 1986, wrote the CO that:

     During the past 45 days, we have expanded and reorganized
     the micrographics quality assurance section, installing
     equipment of the same type employed by GPO to verify
     specifications of microfiche manufactured under Program
     . . . .
     Sent managers, supervisors and quality control personnel to
     train with GPO quality control personnel.

     Use these individuals to provide additional training to all
     personnel who work on this project.
     Establish priorities to assure that pick-up, filming and
     subsequent actions required by the contract will not be
     delayed by other production.
     Researched problems which cause rejections and determined
     means to eliminate the cause of the deficiency.  As an
     example, we have recently seen that excessive cleaning of
     the first and second generation microfiche after inspection
     introduces minute scratches which then go undetected as the
     microfiche is dispatched to GPO for examination.
     Developed closer coordination with GPO quality control
     personnel to expedite corrections when these are necessary.
     In summary, we have reorganized our quality assurance
     section to enhance not only its performance but to improve
     training, highlight problem areas quickly, and provide
     solutions to meeting the requirements of this contract.

Rule 4 File, Tab K.

     On December 23, 1986, the CO again sent Appellant a "Cure
     Notice" on Print Orders 60040, 60042, 60043, 60046, 60048,
     60049, 60051-60055, 60058, and 60059.  (R4 File, Tab L.)  In
     response to this "Cure Notice," Marlatt, by letter dated
     December 30, 1986, stated:

     The major factor involved in the delay in complying with the
     distribution schedule is our inability to secure sufficient
     Government furnished envelopes in a timely manner.  It is
     necessary to notify GPO representatives weekly that
     envelopes are required for future distribution.  The time
     delay between notification and the availability of envelopes
     for pickup, however, has caused more than 50 percent of the
     scheduled shipments to be held up from one to ten days after
     GPO Quality Assurance release.

    With respect to your quality assurance concerns, we have
    previously emphasized the difficulty encountered in meeting
    the new microfiche length tolerances; [sic] which provide
    only .75 millimeter margin for error.  The vendors have
    recently informed us that they will not be able to modify the
    TDC cameras to guarantee our ability to meet these
     Camera manufacturers state the pulldown between microfiche
     frequently will vary enough to generate a cumulative
     difference in the position of the cut mark on adjacent
     microfiche.  This makes it impossible to depend upon either
     an automatic cutter or manual cutting utilizing a template
     registered upon the cut mark to maintain each microfiche
     within this .75 range.
     Parallax in eye position makes it very difficult to detect
     minute variations exceeding the less than one millimeter
     range, further complicating the matter.

R4 File, Tab M.

     Thereafter, by letter of January 20, 1987, the CO advised
     Marlatt of the termination.  (R4 File, Tab N.)  By letter
     dated January 27, 1987, Appellant noted its appeal as

     Automated Datatron, Incorporated (ADI) hereby appeals the
     Contracting Officers decision to terminate the referenced
     contracts for "Default".   While agreeing that rejections of
     microfiche occurred, resulting in shipping delays for both
     contracts, ADI believes the reason for termination should be
     for "Convenience of the Government".
     This appeal is based upon the fact that despite diligent
     effort, and at considerable additional expense, the
     contractor was unable to procure equipment that consistently
     creates microfiche which meet the extremely tight
     specifications stipulated in the contracts.  This problem
     has been identified to the vendors of camera and duplicator
     equipment.  Their position is that the tolerances,
     particularly for length, exceed the capability of current
     equipment on a continuous basis.  We advised the Government
     Printing Office of the problems encountered several times.
     Our most recent letter requesting that the remainder of the
     contract be cancelled for "Convenience of the Government" is
     attached at Appendix A. 1/

     In summary, we believe that the new specifications for
     Programs (151 and 90) are excessively restrictive for
     currently available equipment.  No other GPO, or other
     Government contracts, to our knowledge, contain these same
     specifications.  Therefore, if these specifications for this
     particular job are necessary for the convenience of the
     Government, the cancellations should be for that same
     reason, rather than default.

Official File, Tab 1.

     By letter dated February 3, 1987, this Board notified
     Appellant and Respondent that the appeal had been docketed,
     provided Appellant with a copy of the Board's Rules of
     Practice and Procedure, advised Respondent of its duty to
     assemble and furnish to this Board and Appellant a copy of
     all documents pertinent to the appeal (the R4 File), and
     advised Appellant that, within 30 days after receipt of such
     documents, it should transmit to the Board and Respondent
     any documents not contained therein which it considers to be
     relevant to the appeal.  The Appellant was also advised of
     the requirement for filing a complaint and for making an
     election respecting the desire for a hearing.

     Respondent complied with the R4 File requirement on March
     10, 1987.  The file contained all of the documents
     referenced above, plus a copy of the specifications (Tab B),
     the original bidders list (Tab C), the abstract and
     confirmation of

1/ Tab A, referenced by Appellant, is its letter of December 30,
1986, supra.

bid prices (Tab D), a record of quality problems and late
deliveries kept by GPO's Quality Assurance Section (Tab F), and a
memorandum of February 17, 1987, with attachments referenced
therein (Tab K) from Robert M. Saholsky, Industrial Engineer,
Quality Systems Division, Quality Control and Technical
Department, GPO, to Printing Specialist, Term Contract Division,
Printing Procurement Department, GPO, respecting microfiche
length.  The memorandum stated:

     In the establishment of microfiche standards for the U.S.
     Government Printing Office (GPO), the GPO has attempted to
     adhere to the recognized national standards for microfiche
     created by the American National Standards Institute and the
     Association for Information and Image Management

     The ANSI/AIIM Committees that prepare and approve these
     microfiche standards are comprised of the most knowledgeable
     authorities in the field of micrographics from both private
     industry and the federal government.

     The most current standard for microfiche length is ANSI/AIIM
     MS5-1985, approved as a national standard on May 13, 1985.
     MS5-1985 requires a microfiche length of 148 millimeters
     with a tolerance of plus zero millimeters and minus .75
     millimeters (see attached MS5-1985).  MS5-1985 represents a
     tightening of the previous microfiche length standard
     MS5-1975, (see attached MS5-1975), requiring a microfiche
     length of 148 millimeters with a tolerance of plus zero
     millimeters and minus 1.00 millimeters.  The tightening of
     this standard is the result of improvements in micrographics
     equipment and technology over the last 12 years.

     Considering the possible difficulty in attaining this
     microfiche length standard on a consistent production basis,
     Mr. Ray Gulick (Documents Technical Support Group,
     Superintendent of Documents) and myself contacted the
     Engineering Division of Consolidated Micrographics, Inc. and
     the Southeastern Regional Manager of the Photomatrix
     Corporation.  Consolidated Micrographics and Photomatrix
     Corporation are large manufacturers of microfiche

     Both Consolidated Micrographics and the Photomatrix
     Corporation confirmed the fact that a microfiche length
     standard of 147.25 millimeters to 148.00 millimeters is
     warranted and can easily be achieved on a consistent
     production basis.

     It is therefore, recommended that the Government Printing
     Office ultimately adhere to the ANSI/AIIM standards,
     including the ANSI/AIIM standard for microfiche length.

     By letter dated April 16, 1987, the Board, having received
     no answer to Appellant's complaint from the Respondent,
     advised Appellant that it had entered a general denial on
     behalf of the Government pursuant to Rule 6.(b) of the
     Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure.  On April 22, 1987,
     the Board received a letter from Marlatt dated April 9,
     1987, which stated:

     Automated Datatron, Inc. (ADI) wishes the Board to note the
     Both of the referenced files contain GPO Memoranda stating
     that Consolidated Micrographics, Inc. confirmed that "a
     micrographic length standard of 147.25 millimeters to 148.00
     millimeters is warranted and can easily be achieved on a
     consistent production basis."
     ADI has received information from Consolidated Micrographics
     that only its most recently manufactured machines can be
     modified to meet this standard.
     We will forward written confirmation of this information
     when it is received from Consolidated micrographics.

Official File, Tab 7.

     No further correspondence was received from either party.
     Accordingly, the record was administratively closed in

with the Board's Rules and comes on for decision on the written
record in this manner, Appellant having failed to exercise its
right to a hearing.


     The appeal raises the question of whether the
     specification's provision respecting the length of
     microfiche is excessively restrictive.  The question is
     substantially the same as that raised by Appellant in Docket
     No. GPO BCA 4-87 decided this date upon identical
     specification language and similar facts.  In the instant
     case, as in Docket No. GPO BCA 4-87, the  Appellant has
     offered no evidence whatsoever to support the primary
     assertion of its complaint that "the new specifications   .
     . . are excessively restrictive for currently available
     equipment."  Moreover, the Board's examination of the record
     convinces it that such assertion is clearly erroneous for
     the following reasons:

     (1)  The solicitation advised:  "BIDDERS PLEASE NOTE:  "This
     contract has been extensively revised; therefore, all
     bidders are cautioned to familiarize themselves with all
     provisions of this contract before bidding."  (R4 File, Tab
     B, page 1 of the specifications.)

     (2)  The specifications state the size of the microfiche to
     be 148 by 105 millimeters and that the microfiche "shall
     conform to the microfiche Format 24/98, as specified in
     'ANSI/AIM MS5-1985, American National Standard for
     Micrographics -

Microfiche'," and that the microfiche conform to the quality
assurance for microfiche provisions set forth in Section 3 of the

     (3)   Among the provisions of Section 3 is a quality
     attribute for length which states the nominal standard for
     such attribute as 148 millimeters as per table 5 of "ANSI PH
     1.51-1983 American National Standard 'Dimensions for
     Micrographic Sheet and Roll Films.'"; with tolerances for
     such standard to be as per Defect Classification Table
     included in such specifications as follows:


Defect Classification
less than 147.25 mm (5.797")                     critical
greater than 148.0 mm (5.827")                 critical

Rule 4 File, Tab B, specifications, page 9 of 22.

     (4)  The Government based its inclusion of such provision
     upon a highly regarded, universally accepted standard.  (R4
     File, Tab P.)

     (5)  There is no evidence of any protest of these
     specifications by Appellant or any other vendor to whom the
     solicitation was sent.  The bidder's list reflects that
     Respondent received 4 responsive bids to the solicitation,
     including Appellant's bid.  (R4 File, Tab C.)

     (6)  Moreover, because of the differences in the 4 bids,
     Appellant was apparently asked to review and confirm its bid
     for possible errors which it did affirmatively by letter
     dated August 22, 1986.  (R4 File, Tab D, sheet 2.)

     (7)  Performance records indicate that while Appellant had
     great difficulty in meeting the specifications respecting
     length, acceptance was achieved after correction in certain
     instances, thus confirming that while the specifications
     were difficult to meet, performance was not impossible.  (R4
     File, Tab O.)

     The Board believes that given such findings, the decision of
     the Contracting Officer, as in Docket No. GPO BCA 4-87, was
     fully supported by the evidence and should not be disturbed.
     Accordingly, the appeal is denied and the decision of the
     Contracting Officer is affirmed.