Reprographex, Inc. GPO BCA 14-86 July 7, 1987 Michael F. DiMario, Administrative Law Judge This appeal, timely filed by Reprographex, Inc., Palo Alto, CA 94306 (hereinafter "Appellant"), is from the September 15, 1986 final decision of John J. O'Connor, Contracting Officer, San Francisco Regional Printing and Procurement Office (hereinafter "SFRPPO"), United States Government Printing Office (hereinafter "GPO" or "Respondent"), rejecting Appellant's claim of entitlement to payment pursuant to its invoices for certain work performed by it under GPO Program 3952M. The decision of the Contracting Officer is reversed for the reasons set forth hereinbelow. Background Respondent has for a number of years contracted for certain highly technical "Word Processing/Photocomposition Interface" services on behalf of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, Menlo Park, CA (hereinafter the "Department"). This continuing operation is designated GPO program 3952M. Under the program the SFRPPO, upon requisition of the Department, annually issues Invitation for Bids specifying the services the Department anticipates it will require during a specified l-year term. The resultant term contract is awarded on a multiple basis, i.e., concurrently to all qualified bidders by issuance of so-called Purchase Orders, although no actual work is procured at that time. Thereafter, any work requirements which arise are placed with the bidders sequentially; lowest bidder first, but if such bidder is not able to accept the work, then to the next lowest bidder, etc.. The placement is made by issuance of a Print Order which incorporates by reference all the terms and conditions of the basic agreement as reflected in the solicitations, bid, and purchase order. Thus, each print order, together with these incorporated documents, is itself a completely enforceable contract. Under this scheme, Appellant has been among the program participants for several terms, including June 1, 1984 through May 31, 1985 (Purchase Order P-5350 dated May 31, 1984); and June 1, 1985 through May 31, 1986 (Purchase Order P-5699 dated May 31, 1985), respectively. During performance under P-5350 certain differences arose between Appellant's Mr. Arnold Abrams and Respondent's Washington, DC Voucher Examination Section concerning Appellant's entitlement to payment for certain work. (Letter of Abrams dated June 3, 1985 to Mr. Paul Spatz, Chief of Invoice Voucher & Examination Section, Rule 4 File, (hereinafter "R4 File"), Tab 9.) At that time Abrams asked the SFRPPO Contracting Officer, John O'Connor, to resolve the differences. Having received no response from O'Connor, Abrams renewed his inquiry by letter of October 10, 1985, captioned "[U]nique Terms and Conditions concerning P.O. No. 5350-Program 3952M Region 9-11 covering Print Order # 10009 and all others upon which we are performing and will be ensuing." (R4 File, Tab 9.) His contention was that the contract was being misinterpreted by the Voucher Examination Section. He asserted that the contract in essence said: THIS IS TO BE A TELECOMMUNICATING CONTRACT. We are not supposed to keyboard material - our customer is supposed to do that (See Exhibit 3). Your contract with us says there maybe an EXCEPTION. 1. AFTER WE HAVE SUBMITTED WHAT WAS TELECOMMUNICATED, WE MAY RECEIVE REQUESTS FOR CHANGES AND ADDITIONS (OR DELETIONS), TO BE KEYBOARDED IN THE SAME OR DIFFERENT POINT SIZES, LEADING AND SET WIDTHS. 2. THESE REQUESTS MAY BE ANNOTATED ON THE PROOF COPY OR EVEN ON THE REPRO COPY. 3 ANY SUCH CHANGES ARE TO BE KEYBOARDED AND THE PREVIOUSLY TELECOMMUNICATED COPY, THEREBY REVISED ACCORDINGLY, TO BE REIMBURSED AT THE PER LINE PRICE (See Exhibit 4). R4 File, Id. This led to a conference between Abrams and O'Connor out of which came Contract Modification SF-32-86 of October 25, 1985, which in pertinent part stated: Change is hereby made in Program 3952-M, Purchase Order P-5699 to the effect that the "per line" charge for Author's Alterations (Item I. F.(l) & (2)) will be limited to a minimum of $10.00 per page and a maximum of $30.00 per page. The "per line" charge is applicable only to AA's which require typesetting through manual keystroking. These limitations are to be in effect for the entire contract period from June 1, 1985 thru May 31, 1986. R4 File, Tab 8. Subsequent to such modification, Respondent's Voucher Examination Section disallowed Appellant's vouchered claims for payment under Section Ie(2) of the Contract for "Add'l Camera Copy" which Appellant had generated as substitute pages after keyboarding various author's alterations made to previously created camera copy galley proofs. The Voucher Examination Section also asserted that certain previous claims for such work had been erroneously paid to Appellant and that adjustments in their respective accounts were therefore necessary. Next, Appellant's Abrams, in a series of communications, angrily advised O'Connor of the correctness of his claims and again asked for his intervention with Respondent's Voucher Examination Section, such request being premised upon Abrams' interpretation of the contract and the method by which the work thereunder was required to be performed. O'Connor refused to intervene with the Voucher Examination Section and so advised Abrams in writing by final decision of Contracting Officer letter dated September 15, 1986, wherein O'Connor stated: It appears from your attachments [to letter of July 8, 1986] that the item of overpayment is "I.E.(2) Add'l camera copy." While I don't know whether overpayment did or did not occur on certain orders; you are aware from our last meeting that I disagree with your interpretation of this item. I will not therefore direct the 'Voucher Examination Section' to make any additional payment. Official File, Tab B. Thereafter, Abrams by letter of September 23, 1986, appealed to this Board on behalf of Appellant. In such letter Abrams requested that the case be processed pursuant to the small claims procedure. The appeal file required by GPO Instruction 110.12 dated September 17, 1984, was then assembled by Respondent and furnished to this Board and to Appellant. Subsequently, on January 6, 1987, in lieu of a prehearing conference, a telephone conference call was initiated by the Board to all parties concerned. Upon conclusion of remarks by Abrams and O'Connor, all parties were advised by the undersigned that in his judgment the issue being raised was solely a question of contract interpretation and thus to be decided by the Board subject to the provisions of Article 2-3(b) U.S. Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. 1 (GPO Publication 310.2, Revised October 1, 1980) concerning finality. The matter is before the Board for decision upon the record in this format. Discussion The issue presented by this appeal is whether or not the production of certain corrected camera copy necessitated by manual keyboarding of author's alterations of "original camera copy" galley proofs which themselves were created from both telecommunicated and marked up hard copy constitutes "additional camera copy" for purposes of payment under Section I.E.(2) of the "Schedule of Prices." The Appellant asserts that such copy is in fact the "additional camera copy" contemplated by the "Schedule of Prices" and supports such contention by arguing that: Additional camera copy was underscored in the contract requirements item I Composition Camera Copy - subparagraph E(2) because reference was made to Author's Alterations page 7 that instructed us to make the necessary changes on the hard copy or the reader's proofs and we would be reimbursed for making these alterations on a per line basis. In actuality, changes on the hard copy are covered by Editing the transmission received diskette. Alterations on the reader's proofs are an entirely different matter, necessitating extensive keyboarding and playout of additional Composition/Camera Copy. Official File, Tab A. "[W]hen we have to produce certain portions twice (because of author's changes) we have to prepare additional pages of (composition) camera copy and thus expect to be paid for it." (R4 File, Tab 8.) The Rule 4 File does not in fact contain any document in which Respondent itself articulates the reasons for its opposition to Appellant's position. Instead, those reasons, if any, must be gleaned from documents originating with Appellant. The most definite of such documents appears to be a letter from Abrams to O'Connor dated March 3, 1986, which Abrams appended as Exhibit 1 to another letter from him to O'Connor dated May 1, 1986. Therein Abrams states: According to Mr. Phil Jones of Voucher Examination (202) 275-2269, the modification is written wrong. He is playing lawyer and: (A) says the modification has no standing because the pages, which is the last step we do, have no changes, only the galleys used to make these pages had changes. (B) Since there was [sic] no changes to pages there is no additional camera copy necessary. (R4 File, Tab 7.) While the term "additional camera copy" is not defined in the contract, the words are clear and unambiguous being readily defined by dictionary. The legal question to be resolved, however, is not what the words themselves mean but rather what is the antecedent usage to which "additional camera copy" refers. This can only be determined by examining the context in which such term is used in the contract itself. Turning to the contract we find that bids were to be made by line item price on the portion of the IFB/specifications captioned "Section 4. Schedule of Prices." Section 4 is divided into Subsection "I. Composition Camera Copy" and Subsection "II. TIMEWORK." Instructions following Subsection I tell us that line item price quotes for Subsection I were to "be all-inclusive for the materials and operations necessary to produce and deliver one set of camera copy, in accordance with the specifications." The line item which follows in indented fashion thereafter, generally coincides with the narrative description of services set forth elsewhere in the specifications, i.e., "A. Composition Camera Copy," "B. Text Editing . . .," "C. Page Makeup . . .", "D. Cover and Title Page (composition and makeup)," "E. Proofs/Camera Copy," and "F. Author's alterations." Line item "E. Proofs/Camera Copy," the line item in question, is further divided into two indented numbered subcategories: "(1) Electrostatic Proofs . . ." and "(2) Additional Camera Copy . . . ." with the latter subcategory requiring a per page bid price for which Appellant bid $6. Following line item (e) is line item (f) "Author's Alterations" which itself is divided into two indented and numbered subcategories. Schematically, the arrangement looks thusly: SECTION 4. - SCHEDULE OF PRICES I. Composition Camera Copy . . . . A. Composition Camera Copy . . . . B. Text Editing - Text and/or tabular (deleting, setting inserting or merging and mending) . . . . C. Page Makeup (includes vertical rule on mutli column [sic] page format) . . . . D. Cover and Title Page (composition and makeup) . . . . E. Proofs/Camera Copy (1) Electrostatic proofs . . . per page . . . or galley . . . . . $_____ (2) Additional Camera Copy . . . per page . . . $_____ F. Author's alterations (1) . . . . (2) . . . . R4 File, Tab 2, pages 11 and 12 of 13. This schematic arrangement makes clear that the term "additional camera copy" serves an intermediate production purpose similar in this regard to the term "Electrostatic Proofs." The conclusion which one must draw from this is that such term, in fact, cannot mean the production and final delivery of more than one set of final pages of camera copy as alleged by Respondent, its drafter. This is so because the scheme shows a request for only one final set of camera copy with the word "one" underscored, whereas the term "additional camera copy" falls within a series of steps intermediate to the production of such one set. This intermediate purpose is also clear from the fact that the term "additional camera copy" is followed by another intermediate step, i.e., "author's alterations." Since we find that "additional camera copy" refers to an intermediate step in the production of "one final set" of camera copy, we must look to the remainder of the specification language to give the term "additional camera copy" its appropriate meaning. In so doing we find that the contract does indeed tell us, as Appellant alleges, that copy will be received by transmission or floppy disk; that the type must be set from such mediums by interfacing compatible photocomposing machines; and that ordinarily the contractor must not keystroke work except copy for tabular matter and equations which will be furnished predominantly in manuscript form. (R4 File, Tab 1, page 5 of 13.) The specifications also tell us that there may be author's alterations to the original text; that is, to the transmitted copy, the floppy disk, or the tabular or equation manuscript copy, and that such alterations will be made on either the hard copy or reader's proofs. It is obvious that when hand keyed alterations are made to automatically generated copy, the contractor of necessity must generate new camera copy as a substitute for the camera copy originally set. Only then can he submit proofs showing that he has made such alterations. The camera copy generated in this fashion is in fact the "additional camera copy" of the "Schedule of Prices," and the "antecedent usage" to which it inferentially refers is undoubtedly the copy automatically generated by equipment interface. Thus, it is the opinion of this Board that the Appellant's interpretation of the contract is the only rational interpretation which can be given to the language of the contract, the intention of the drafter to the contrary notwithstanding. It is, therefore, the decision of this Board that the appeal be granted and that the decision of the Contracting Officer be reversed.