U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS STUART M. FOSS Administrative Judge Appeal of B. P. PRINTING AND OFFICE SUPPLIES Docket No. GPO BCA 14-91 Jacket No. 531-043, Purchase Order F-0343, Program 1422-M, Print Order 20477 August 10, 1992 DECISION AND ORDER By letter dated July 10, 1991, B. P. Printing and Office Supplies, 5050 Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Norcross, Georgia 30093 (Appellant or Contractor), timely filed an appeal from the April 11, 1991, final decision of Contracting Officer Douglas M. Faour, of the U.S. Government Printing Office's (Respondent or GPO) Regional Printing Procurement Office, Atlanta, Georgia (ARPPO), reducing the contract price of the Appellant's contract identified as Jacket No. 531-043, Purchase Order F-0343, Program 1422-M, Print Order 20477, by $74.20 because 28 copies of the material ordered were not received by the customer agency - the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Thereafter, by letter dated October 12, 1991, the Appellant submitted additional documentary material to the Board for the purpose of supplementing the Contracting Officer's file prepared pursuant to Rule 4 of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure. 1/ Rule 4(b). In the memorandum attached to its supplemental letter, the Appellant contended that the main issue did not concern a dispute over $74.20, but instead involved the ARPPO's unfair treatment of the Appellant in this matter, including acts of harassment and retaliation after the claim was filed. Supplemental Memorandum. p. 2. Accordingly, the Appellant requested a hearing so that the Board could understand the full extent of the ARPPO's discriminatory activity and "corruption." Id. Board Rules, 8. For the reasons which follow, the Appellant's request for a full evidentiary hearing is DENIED. Furthermore, considering the record as a whole, the decision of the Contracting Officer is hereby affirmed, and the appeal is DISMISSED. BACKGROUND The facts in this case are relatively simple and are set forth here only to the extent necessary for this decision. The contract in question was a multiple award contract for HUD's short-run copying and printing for a one-year period beginning February 1, 1991 and ending January 31, 1992 (R4 File, Tab A). Specifically, the contract involved "...the production of various sizes of forms, books, and pamphlets on a fast schedule requiring such operations as film-making, copying/printing, binding, packing and distribution" (R4-File, Tab A, Scope, p. 6). 2/ Furthermore, this was a "requirements" contract for the items to be furnished (R4 File, Tab A, Ordering and Quantities, pp. 4-5), with the Government's print orders being issued by HUD on a "direct-deal" basis, instead of by GPO. 3/ Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference (February 14, 1992), p. 3 (RPTC). Complaint, p. 2. This dispute is anchored in the "Distribution" and "Receipt for Delivery" specifications of the contract, which provide in pertinent part: DISTRIBUTION: Deliver f.o.b. destination to addresses within the commercial zone of Atlanta, GA and ship f.o.b. contractor's city to all other destinations. . . 4/ * * * Shipments by "Express Mail" will be required when requested on the print order by the ordering agency and will require the contractor to apply the appropriate postage to each mailing. Contractor will be reimbursed for postage by submitting a properly completed Postal Service Certificate of Mailing with the voucher for billing. A single shipment or several shipments totaling 120 pounds or less scheduled for shipment on the same day to a single destination are to be mailed by reimbursable parcel cost unless otherwise instructed. Government bills of lading will be furnished by the GPO for all shipments requiring a bill of lading. The contractor must combine on one bill of lading (and a continuation sheet, if required) all orders scheduled for shipment to a single destination on the same day (R-4 File, Tab A, p. 10). [Emphasis added.] * * * RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY: Contractor must furnish their own receipts for delivery. These receipts must include the GPO jacket, program, and print order numbers; total quantity delivered, number of cartons, and quantity per carton; date delivery made; and signature of the government agent accepting delivery. The original copy of this receipt must accompany the contractor's voucher for payment (R4 File, Tab A, p. 12). On January 14, 1991, HUD issued Print Order 20477 under the contract to the Appellant for the production of 250 copies of folders/compendiums (folders) (R4 File, Tab B). Because these folders were needed by HUD's Tampa, Florida office for a seminar on February 13, 1991, the Print Order required the Appellant to ship them by January 28, 1991 (R4 File, Tabs B and C). The Appellant produced the folders, packaged them in cartons and took them to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for shipment to HUD on the scheduled ship/deliver date (R4 File, Tab E). The record shows, however, that Print Order 20477 was not a sole shipment. Instead, in accordance with the terms of the contract's "Distribution" clause underscored above, the parcel post shipment consisted of the Print Order 20477 folders and material which the Appellant had also produced for HUD pursuant to Print Orders 20415 and 20491 (R4 File, Tab E). HUD received the shipment of Print Order 20477 on February 6, 1991, and the Respondent's financial office in Washington, DC paid for it on March 13, 1991. RPTC p. 3. The dispute between the parties arose when, on February 12, 1991, HUD informed the Respondent that 28 folders were missing from the shipment of Print Order 20477 and requested a credit of $74.20 instead of having the Appellant print additional copies (R4 File, Tab C). 5/ On March 12, 1991, the Respondent telephoned the Appellant to discuss the Print Order 20477 shortage (R4 File, Tab D). The Appellant insisted Print Order 20477 had been completed and shipped in five cartons (three cartons containing 56 folders each, one carton containing 54 folders and one carton containing 28 folders) (R4 File, Tab D). When the Respondent made further inquiries of HUD, the customer agency was equally sure that the 28 folders were missing (R4 File, Tab D). Consequently, the record shows that on or about April 1, 1991, the Appellant was asked to present its proof of shipment to the Respondent (R4 File, Tab D). The Appellant's evidence of shipment is a document dated January 28, 1991, on its own letterhead on which is handwritten the words "shipping list," and which bears a USPS stamp of the same date (R4 File, Tab E). The "Quantity" column of this "shipping list" shows a shipment of "50 bundles," while the "Description" column lists three Print Orders-Nos. 20415, 20491, and 20477 (R4 File, Tab E). The notation "50 bundles" appears next to Print Order 20415; there is no number shown in the "Quantity" column next to Print Orders 20491 and 20477. The Contracting Officer considered the Appellant's "shipping list" inadequate proof of shipment and rejected it because it did not conform to the prescribed documentation required by the contract. RPTC, p. 4. Accordingly, on April 2, 1991, the Contracting Officer issued Contract Modification No. 1, changing the quantity on the Print Order from 250 folders to 222 folders and decreasing the contract price by $74.20, and mailed it to the Appellant for signature (R4 File, Tab F). Because the Appellant disagreed with the Contracting Officer's action, it annotated the Contract Modification accordingly, and on April 5, 1991, returned it to the ARPPO. Complaint, Attachment 3. On April 11, 1991, therefore, the Contracting Officer issued his final decision on the matter reducing the contract price because the Appellant was "unable to supply proof of delivery for the 250 copies ordered on Program 1422-M, Print Order 20477, and the ordering agency states that only 222 were received, . . ." (R4 File, Tab G). By letter dated July 10, 1991, the Appellant filed its Notice of Appeal in this dispute with the Board. Board Rules, Rule 1(a). Subsequently, on September 14, 1991, the Appellant forwarded its Complaint to the Board in which it not only explained the circumstances surrounding the missing folders under Print Order 20477, but also raised allegations of "reprisal" and "discrimination" by the Respondent concerning other contracts. 6/ In its Complaint, the Appellant told the Board that it would "let the appeal [be] decided on the record, but if need[ed] we have no objection to a hearing." Complaint, p. 3. Thereafter, by memorandum dated October 2, 1991, and filed with the Board on October 12, 1991 as a "follow up Complaint," the Appellant submitted additional documents under Rule 4(b) of the Board's Rules, and renewed its allegation of harassment and retaliation. 7/ Supplemental Memorandum. p. 2. In addition, the Appellant told the Board: The main issue is not a dispute of [$]74.20. It is the fairness in the case of [P]rint (O)rder 20477. Furthermore, and even more importantly, because of the dispute, we are harassed and [retaliated] against all the way from [April 2, 1991] up to this moment and seeing no [end]. It may be necessary, and we request, a hearing on this case to understand fully the extent. The hearing, if held, may also help in understanding the corruption in the office of the [ARPPO]. 8/ Id. [Emphasis added.] Two months later, on December 2, 1991, the Respondent's Answer to the Complaint was filed with the Board. Subsequently, by memorandum dated January 10, 1992, the Appellant filed an Amended Complaint, specifically responding to matters raised in the Respondent's Answer, Rule 7(a). Finally, by memorandum dated January 10, 1992, entitled "Amendment of Pleading," the Appellant responded to the Answer, and reiterated that it had: limited the complaint to [the ARPPO's] discriminating action and mismanagement which have [a] severe effect on the Appellant to conduct business with his own [G]overnment. The dispute over [Print Order 20477] is a [beginning] of a series of actions the law cannot overlook [sic]. 9/ Amended Complaint, p. 1. [Emphasis added.] See also, Appellant's Letter, dated February 28, 1992, p. 2. ("It should be emphasized here that the instant appeal is not a dispute merely [involving] consideration of the Government's claim for [a] refund of $74.20. It is the issue of mismanagement, not [to] mention discrimination, of the GPO Atlanta office which has a [devastating] affect on [the Appellant's ability] to do business with the [G]overnment."). 10/ ISSUES PRESENTED This case presents three issues for the consideration of the Board, one jurisdictional, one procedural, and one on the merits of the appeal: 1. Does the Board have jurisdiction to decide the Appellant's allegations of "discrimination" and "mismanagement" by the Respondent in the context of this case? 11/ 2. Must the Board conduct an evidentiary hearing in this appeal because the Appellant has requested one? 3. Was the Contracting Officer in error when he rejected the Appellant's "shipping list" as adequate proof of shipment because it did not conform to the documentation prescribed by the contract? POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES The position of both parties was well-stated at the prehearing telephone conference. On the jurisdictional question, the Appellant believes that the Board can consider its allegations of discrimination and unfair practices by the Contracting Officer, and that all the cases presented in the attachments to its Complaint are interrelated and deserve to be dealt with in this appeal. RPTC, p. 6. To the contrary, the Respondent asserts that the Board is without jurisdiction to consider matters outside the scope of the original complaint. Id., p. 5. With respect to the merits of the dispute, the essence of this case concerns a missing carton from the shipment of Print Order 20477 - the one containing 28 folders. RPTC, p. 4. Hence, the sole issue on the merits involves the weight to be given to the Appellant's "shipping list" as adequate proof of shipment. On that question, the Appellant argued that its "shipping list" was in the form customarily accepted as evidence of shipment by GPO's contracting officer's, HUD and the Respondent's financial office, in the past. RPTC, pp. 6-7. The Appellant contended that its "shipping list" tells the Respondent that on January 28, 1991, it sent 50 cartons of the publications covered by Print Order No. 20415, and shipped all of the material ordered under Print Order Nos. 20491 and 20477. Amended Complaint, p. 1. The Appellant noted that when it informed the Respondent on April 2, 1991, how it had divided the 250 folders covered by Print Order No. 20477 for shipping purposes, a tracer should have been placed with the USPS to locate the missing carton of 28 copies. Id. Accordingly, the Appellant believes that in this case its performance under the contract was complete when it handed all five of the Print Order 20477 cartons to the USPS for delivery to HUD. Id. Therefore, in its view, the Contracting Officer had no reason or authority to reduce the contract price by $74.20, and in effect, place responsibility for the loss of the carton containing 28 folders on the Appellant. 12/ Id. The Respondent, on the other hand, has a much simpler view of the merits. Specifically, the Respondent points to the contract's "RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY" clause which sets forth, in detail, the type of information which must be contained on the contractor's receipt for delivery which accompanies its voucher for payment (R4 File, Tab A, p. 12). RPTC, p. 4. According to the Respondent, the Appellant's "shipping list" did not measure up to the requirements of the "RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY" clause, and the Contracting Officer properly rejected it as inadequate proof of delivery in this case. RPTC, p. 5. Therefore, in the Respondent's view, since the Appellant was unable to produce the required proof of shipment, it was entitled to judgment on the pleadings. Id. DECISION 13/ A. The Board is without jurisdiction to decide the Appellant's allegations of "discrimination" and "mismanagement" by the Respondent in the context of this case. From the outset, the Appellant has made clear that the central thrust of its Complaint concerns discriminatory conduct and mismanagement by the ARPPO, and not the Contracting Officer's reduction of the contract price on Print Order 20477 by $74.20. However, during the prehearing telephone conference on January 14, 1992, the Board expressed its opinion that while it was sensitive to the concerns raised in the Complaint, it believed that it lacked jurisdiction to consider and adjudicate such allegations under the "Disputes" clause of the contract. RPTC, p. 9. Accordingly, the Board was of the view that it would not, indeed could not, consider and adjudicate the bias issue raised by the Appellant. Id. Since the prehearing telephone conference, the Board has had an opportunity to reexamine the sources of its authority and applicable precedent. Based on that review, the Board is convinced that the views it expressed concerning its ability to resolve disputes of discrimination and mismanagement are correct, and it hereby affirms the ruling it made during the prehearing telephone conference. The jurisdiction of the Board to consider and determine appeals is limited to ". . . 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." Board Rules, Preface to Rules, I. Jurisdiction for Considering Appeals. See also, GPO Instruction 110.10C Subject: Establishment of the Board of Contract Appeals, dated September 17, 1984, ¶ 5. Under the "Disputes" clause in GPO Contract Terms, which is incorporated by reference in the contract at issue (R4 File, Tab A, GPO Contract Terms and Quality Assurance Through Attributes, p. 2), the Board only has authority to dispose of questions "arising under or relating to" the contract. GPO Contract Terms. GPO Publication 310.2, Effective December 1, 1987, (rev. 9-88), Contract Clauses, ¶ 5(a). Hence, as a creature of the "Disputes" clause, the Board has consistently maintained that its jurisdiction is narrowly defined. Specifically, the Board has stated on numerous occasions that its authority is purely derivative and contractual, and it is constrained to decide disputes within the parameters of the contract under review. See, e.g., The Wessel Company, GPO BCA 8-90 (February 28, 1992), Sl. op. at 32-33; Bay Printing, Inc., GPO BCA 16-85 (January 30, 1987), Sl. op. at 9; Peake Printers, Inc., GPO BCA 12-85 (November 12, 1986), Sl. op. at 6. See also, R. C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op. at 27. Indeed, the Board has expressly noted that the Public Printer has not delegated authority to it to consider legal questions existing outside the contract itself. Automated Datatron, Inc., GPO BCA 20-87 (March 31, 1989), Sl. op. at 4-5. In the Board's view, its "enabling legislation," as consistently interpreted by the Board, deprives it of jurisdiction to consider the general issues of discrimination and mismanagement which the Appellant wishes to litigate in this case. See, RPTC, p. 9. Similarly, the Board has no authority to award the punitive damages requested by the Appellant. 14/ Cf., R. C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op. at 41; The Wessel Company, supra, Sl. op. at 46. Also, as the Board indicated during the prehearing telephone conference, its narrow jurisdictional mandate prevents it from considering matters pertaining to other contracts unrelated to the one under review in this case. RPTC, pp. 7-8. In passing, the Board observes that, by statute, allegations of mismanagement by GPO employees fall within the province of the agency's Inspector General and should be presented to that office. 44 U.S.C. § 3901. On the other hand, while boards of contract appeals can, under appropriate circumstances, entertain claims that Government actions were motivated by bigotry and bias, see, e.g., M. G. Technology Corporation, ASBCA No. 35249, 90-1 BCA ¶ 22,575; Building Maintenance Specialist, Inc., ASBCA No. 25453, 85-1 BCA ¶ 17,932; S. Head Painting Contractor, Incorporated, AGBCA No. 80176-1, 82-2 BCA ¶ 16,005, the accuser is held to the same evidentiary standard which applies to allegations of "bad faith," i.e., "well-nigh irrefragable" or indisputable proof. See, Stephenson, Inc., GPO BCA 02-88 (December 20, 1991), Sl. op. at 5455 (citing, Cotyvan Company, ASBCA No. 24,599, 89-3 BCA ¶ 22,129, at 11,356; Bruce Anderson Company, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 29,412, 32,247, 89-2 BCA ¶ 21,872, at 110,027); The Standard Register Company, GPO BCA No. 4-86 (October 28, 1987), Sl. op. at 12-13 (citing, Knotts v. United States, 121 F.Supp. 630, 631 (Ct. Cl. 1954)). The Board is compelled to note that in this case while the Appellant raised the discrimination issue in its Complaint, the appeal file reveals that its allegations are clearly based on Government conduct occurring after the Contracting Officer issued his final decision (April 11, 1991). 15/ Therefore, apart from the fact that the Board sees nothing in the record to support the Appellant's bold assertion of Government discrimination; cf., Stephenson, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 57; Fry Communications, Inc./InfoConversion Joint Venture, GPO BCA No. 9-85 (decision on remand) (August 5, 1971), Sl. op. at 33, n. 31 (citing, Tri-State Services of Texas, Inc., ASBCA No. 38,019, 89-3 BCA ¶ 22,064); The Standard Register Company, supra, Sl. op. at 12-13); Singleton Contracting Corporation, GSBCA No. 8,548, 90-2 BCA ¶ 22,748; Gemini Services, Inc., ASBCA No. 30247, 86-1 BCA ¶ 18,736, the claim is procedurally defective because it does not arise under or relate solely to the contract under review. GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 5(a). Accordingly, the Board holds it has no jurisdiction to consider the Appellant's allegations of discrimination and mismanagement in this case. B. Even though the Appellant has requested an evidentiary hearing, such a proceeding is not warranted in this appeal. The second issue which the Board must address in the context of this case concerns an important matter relating to the Board's own responsibilities in managing GPO's adjudicatory system for resolving appeals from final decisions of GPO's contracting officers. The procedural question involved, simply stated, is whether or not the Board is obligated to conduct an evidentiary hearing in processing an appeal simply because an appellant demands one. The appeal record shows that the Appellant raised the matter of a hearing on two occasions. In its Complaint, dated August 16, 1991, the Appellant said it would "let the appeal [be] decided on the record, but if need[ed] we have no objection to a hearing." Complaint. p. 3. [Emphasis added.] The second time the Appellant mentioned a hearing was in its Supplemental Memorandum of October 2, 1991, in which it stated: "It may be necessary, and we request, a hearing on this case to understand fully the extent." Supplemental Memorandum, p. 2. As indicated above, the Board's power to decide contractor appeals is rooted in the "Disputes" clause of the contract itself. The Wessel Company, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 32 (citing, Peake Printers, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 6). See also, Bay Printing Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 9. That clause provides, in pertinent part: In connection with any appeal under this article, the contractor shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard and to offer evidence in support of his/her appeal. [Emphasis added.] GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 5(d). The contractor's "opportunity to be heard" is implemented by means of the following provisions in the Board Rules: Rule 8. Hearing Election. Upon receipt of respondent's answer . . ., Appellant shall advise the Board whether it desires a hearing, as prescribed in Rules 17 through 25, or whether it elects to submit its case on the record without a hearing, as prescribed in Rule 11. In appropriate cases, the Appellant shall also elect whether it desires the optional accelerated procedure prescribed in Rule 12. 16/ Rule 17. Where and When Held. Hearings will ordinarily be held in Washington, D.C., except that upon request reasonably made and upon good cause shown, the Board may, in its discretion, set the hearing at another location. Hearings will be scheduled at the discretion of the Board with due consideration to the regular order of appeals, Rule 12 requirements and other pertinent factors. On request or motion by either party and upon good cause shown, the Board may, in its discretion, adjust the date of a hearing. [Emphasis added.] Rule 18. Notice of Hearings. The parties shall be given at least fifteen (15) days notice of the time and place set for hearings. In scheduling hearings, the Board will consider the desires of the parties and the requirement for just and inexpensive determination of appeals without unnecessary delay. Notices of hearings shall be promptly acknowledged by the parties. A party failing to acknowledge a notice of hearing shall be deemed to have submitted his case upon the Board record as provided in Rule 11. [Emphasis added.] Rule 19. Unexcused Absence of a Party. The unexcused absence of a party at the time and place set for a hearing will not be occasion for delay. In the event of such absence, the hearing will proceed and the case will be regarded as submitted by the absent party as provided in Rule 11. Although the rules of the Board pertaining to the scheduling and conduct of hearings, Board Rules, 17, 18, and 19, are substantially similar to the regulations promulgated by Executive branch contract appeals boards to implement the provisions of the Contract Disputes Act (CDA), Pub. L. 95-563, 92 Stat. 2383-91 (codified at 41 U.S.C. §§ 601-613 (1982)), the hearing election procedure is significantly different in at least two respects: (1) only an appellant can choose a hearing under Rule 8; and (2) Rule 8 does not provide for a mandatory hearing at the election of the appellant. 17/ Board Rules, Rule 8. In that regard, the Board's Rule 8 procedure is closer to the administrative practice followed in contract appeals prior to the enactment of the CDA, when the decision whether or not to conduct a hearing on a contract appeal was completely discretionary with the agency board. 18/ See, e.g., Bateson-Cheves Construction Company, IBCA No. 670-9-67, 68-2 BCA ¶ 7,289. Furthermore, the boards took the view that even a "full" hearing did not have to be an "oral" one. Id. (citing, Boston & M. R. R. v. United States, 208 F.Supp. 661, 669 (D. Mass. 1962), affirmed 371 U.S. 20 (1962)). However, agency boards generally provided contractors with an oral hearing under the "Disputes" clause, if requested, where they had jurisdiction and there were disputed issues of fact present. Id., fn. 7 (citing, Morgan Construction Co., IBCA-253, 60-2 BCA ¶ 2,737; Flora Construction Company, IBCA-180, 60-2 BCA ¶ 2,692). Consequently, it is clear that even if an appropriate election is made under Rule 8, an appellant does not have an unconditional right to a hearing. 19/ Under Rule 8 of the Board Rules an appellant's right to a hearing is dependent on a showing that genuine issues of material fact exist which need to be resolved. 20/ Matthew's Printing, Inc., GPO BCA 31-88 (March 14, 1990), Sl. op. 5. Cf., RBP Chemical Corporation, GPO BCA 4-91 (January 23, 1992), Sl. op. 29-30; G.E.T. Construction Company, ASBCA No. 24234, 28709, 85-1 BCA ¶ 17,721. Absent a showing of such a factual dispute, an appellant's right to a hearing and an opportunity to present evidence is satisfied by affording an adequate opportunity for a documentary presentation. See, e.g., Korshoj Construction Co., IBCA No. 321, 65-1 BCA ¶ 4,731; Bateson-Cheves Construction Company, supra, 68-2 BCA ¶ 7,289. This view is consistent with the overarching principle regarding the interpretation of the Board's procedural rules, namely that they should be administered "so as to secure a just and inexpensive determination of appeals without unnecessary delay." Board Rules, Preface to Rules, ¶ VI.C.; Rule 18. [Emphasis added.] It is clear to the Board that a hearing is unwarranted in this case because there is no genuine issue of material fact on any matter over which the Board has jurisdiction. Since appeals are taken to the Board "from final decisions of contracting officers," Board Rules, Preface to Rules, I. Jurisdiction for Considering Appeals, it is the Contracting Officer's action which frames the parameters of the dispute. In this case, the Contracting Officer's final decision of April 11, 1991, reducing the contract price was expressly based on his view that the Appellant's "shipping list" was insufficient "to supply proof of delivery for the 250 copies ordered on Program 1422-M, Print Order 20477, and the ordering agency states that only 222 were received, . . ." (R4 File, Tab G). The Appellant's "shipping list" is already a part of the record (R4 File, Tab E). Consequently, the only issue properly before the Board on appeal from the Contracting Officer's final decision is whether he erred in deciding that the Appellant's "shipping list" was inadequate as proof of delivery of Print Order 20477. The adequacy of the "shipping list" is a question relating to the weight of the evidence in the record, a matter wholly within the discretion of the Board. Board Rules, Rule 13 (c). See also, Board Rules. Rule 20. Each party is, of course, free to offer their respective views regarding the worth of the Appellant's "shipping list" as proof of shipment, and they have, but the ultimate decision rests with the Board. The Board's conclusion that a hearing is unwarranted is reenforced by its examination of the Appellant's own pleadings in this case. The Appellant has maintained throughout these proceedings that the main issue did not concern a dispute over $74.20, but rather involved questions of mismanagement and discrimination on the part of the Government. See, Appellant's Letter dated February 28. 1992, p. 2; Supplemental Memorandum, p. 2; RPTC, pp. 5-6. Thus, the Appellant's interest in a hearing was focused solely on matters neither "arising under or relating to" the contract in question which, as previously stated, defines the Board's authority under the "Disputes" clause. GPO Contract Terms. Contract Clauses, ¶ 5(a). Because the Board must decide disputes within the parameters of the contract under review, see, e.g., The Wessel Company, supra, Sl. op. at 32-33; Peake Printers, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 6; Automated Datatron, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 45, it lacks jurisdiction to consider the general questions of discrimination and mismanagement which furnish the basis for the Appellant's request for a hearing. See, RPTC, p. 9. Consequently, any hearing in this appeal would serve no purpose, see, e.g., United States v. Cheramie B-Truc No. 5, Inc., supra, 538 F.2d 696; Monumental Health Plan, Inc. v. Department of Health and Human Services, supra, 510 F.Supp. 244, because the Board could not award any meaningful remedy. Therefore, if for no other reason, a hearing would be precluded in this appeal as a matter of sound policy, simply because the Board has no power to dispose of the discrimination and mismanagement questions with finality; i.e., to afford a remedy which logically would flow from the facts found. Cf., The Wessel Company, supra, Sl. op. at 37-39 (citing, United States v. Utah Construction and Mining Company, 384 U.S. 394, 40711 (1966)). Also, cf., Blake Construction Company, Inc., GSBCA No. 2205, 67-1 BCA ¶ 6,311, at 29,197-98. Accordingly, the Board denies the Appellant's request for a full evidentiary hearing in this appeal. C. The Contracting Officer properly rejected the Appellant's "shipping list" as inadequate proof of shipment because it did not conform to the documentation prescribed by the contract. At the outset, it must be clearly understood that while the issue on the merits was placed before the Board by the Appellant's Notice of Appeal protesting the Contracting Officer's final decision reducing the contract price for Print Order 20477 by $74.20, we are really dealing here with a "Government claim." 21/ Cf., LTV Aerospace and Defense Company, Vought Missiles and Advanced Programs Division, ASBCA No. 35674, 89-2 BCA ¶ 21,858 (an appeal protesting the Government's reduction of a contract price pursuant to an Economic Price Adjustment clause); P.X. Engineering Company, ASBCA No. 38215, 89-2 BCA ¶ 21,859 (a unilateral contract modification by the Government reducing the price of the contract); Unimatic Manufacturing Company, ASBCA Nos. 25212, 25933, 84-1 BCA ¶ 17,099 (a Government setoff of amounts paid for undelivered goods). Because the matter concerns a "Government claim," it was the Respondent's burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the Appellant failed to deliver a complete shipment of folders under Print Order 20477 to the USPS, as required by the contract, and that, therefore, the Government was entitled to take the deductions and, moreover, the amounts deducted were accurate. Cf., R&B Bewachungsgesellschaft mBH, ASBCA Nos. 42213, 42220, 42222, 91-3 BCA ¶ 24,310 at 121,496; Unimatic Manufacturing Company, supra, 84-1 BCA ¶ 17,099, at 85,111. If the Respondent has met its burden of proof, the fact that its financial office in Washington, DC, had already paid the Appellant the full contract price for Print Order 20477 would not be a bar to recovery by the Government. 22/ Id. As previously indicated, resolution of the dispute between the parties depends on the answer to a single question - is the "shipping list" which the Appellant furnished to the Contracting Officer adequate proof of shipment of Print Order 20477? The differences between the parties on this issue could not be clearer. The Appellant says that its "shipping list" was in the form customarily accepted as evidence of shipment in the past by GPO's contracting officer's, HUD and the Respondent's financial office. RPTC, pp. 67. The Respondent argues that the Appellant's "shipping list" did not meet the requirements of the contract's "RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY" clause, and therefore the Contracting Officer properly rejected it as inadequate proof of delivery in this case. RPTC, p. 5. The Board agrees with the position taken by the Respondent. The keystone to the Respondent's position in this case is the contract's "RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY" clause. That specification sets forth, in detail, the type of information which a contractor must provide to GPO in order to receive payment for the work performed (R4 File, Tab A, p. 12). In that regard, a contractor's receipt must include: (1) the GPO jacket, program, and print order numbers; (2) the total quantity delivered; (3) the number of cartons, and quantity per carton; (4) the date when delivery made; and (5) the signature of the Government agent accepting delivery. 23/ Notwithstanding the Appellant's contention that its "shipping list" was in a form which the Government had accepted as evidence of shipment in the past, even a cursory examination of that document discloses that it fails to provide most of the information required by the "RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY" clause, and is therefore inadequate as proof of delivery under the contract. With respect to Print Order 20477 specifically, while the Appellant's "shipping list" shows that the order was delivered to the USPS on January 28, 1991, there is nothing to indicate, on the face of the document, the number of cartons, and quantity per carton for that order, and who accepted them on behalf of the USPS. Although the Appellant later told the Respondent that Print Order 20477 had been shipped in five cartons -- three cartons containing 56 folders each, one carton containing 54 folders and one carton containing 28 folders -- this information was given to the Contracting Officer verbally and is not contained in the "shipping list" itself. 24/ Indeed, by the Appellant's own admission, the "shipping list" does not even give the total number of cartons for the three Print Orders it covers. As explained by the Appellant, the "50 bundles" shown in the "Quantity" column refers only to Print Order 20415, although the same information could reasonably be read as a total of "50 bundles" for all three Print Orders. Accordingly, in the Board's opinion the Appellant's "shipping list" is incomplete, misleading and confusing, and does not come close to meeting the contractual standards of the "RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY" clause. In the Board's view, the Respondent has established by a preponderance of the evidence that the Appellant did not deliver the missing carton of 28 folders under Purchase Order 20477 to the USPS for shipment to HUD. The Board bases its opinion on: (1) evidence that the 28 folders were not received by HUD's Tampa, Florida office; (2) the fact that a subsequent check of the items delivered under the Appellant's shipment of January 28, 1991, made by HUD's Tampa, Florida office at the Respondent's request, disclosed that the carton with 28 folders was missing; and (3) the failure of the Appellant to provide the Contracting Officer with sufficient information, as required by the "RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY" clause, to show that, in fact, a carton containing 28 folders had been given to the USPS for delivery to HUD in Tampa, Florida. As the Board understands the contractual terms of shipment -- "F.O.B. Contractor's City" -- responsibility for insuring safe delivery of the missing carton would have passed to the Respondent if the Appellant could show that it had met all of its obligations under the contract relative to packing and shipping, including obtaining the required USPS receipts and certificates and maintaining the appropriate documentation. The evidence in the record convinces the Board that the Appellant has failed to meet those ministerial, but nonetheless important duties relating to shipment and delivery under the contract, and therefore, responsibility for the missing carton remains with the Appellant. Thus, on the basis of this record, the Board is unable to say that the Contracting Officer's decision to reduce the contract price for Print Order 20477 under the circumstances described herein is clearly erroneous. Chavis and Chavis Printing, GPO BCA 20-90 (February 6, 1991), Sl. op. at 18. Accordingly, the Board affirms the Contracting Officer's decision to reduce the contract 20477 because only 222 folders were received by HUD. CONCLUSION Considering the record before it as a whole, the Board reaches the following conclusions: (1) the Board is without jurisdiction to consider the Appellant's allegations of discrimination and mismanagement in this case; (2) the Appellant's request for a full evidentiary hearing in this appeal is unwarranted; and (3) the Contracting Officer's decision to reduce the contract price for Print Order 20477 under the circumstances described herein is not clearly erroneous. Therefore, the Board AFFIRMS the Contracting Officer's decision and DISMISSES the appeal. 25/ It is so Ordered. _______________ Footnotes: 1 The Contracting Officer's appeal file, assembled pursuant to Rule 4 of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, was delivered to the Board on September 12, 1991. GPO Instruction 110.12, Subject: Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure dated September 17, 1984 (Board Rules), Rule 4. It will be referred to hereafter as the R4 File. with an appropriate Tab letter also indicated. The R4 File consists of documents identified as Tab A through Tab G. 2 Under the terms of the contract, the production of forms was deemed to be Category 1 work, while the printing of books and pamphlets was classified as Category 2 work (R4 File, Tab A, Title, p. 6). It was anticipated that over the life of the contract the total number of print orders would be equally divided between these two categories (R4 File, Tab A, Frequency of Orders, p. 6). 3 As explained in the GPO Agency Procedural Handbook, GPO Publication 305.1, dated March 1987 (GPO Handbook): "[d]irect- deal term contracts allow the customer agency to place print orders (GPO Form 2511) directly with contractors rather than routing them through the GPO for placement." GPO Handbook. Section IV, ¶ 1, at 8. The purpose of this method of contract administration is "...to ensure that agency printing needs are met in the most effective and efficient manner possible." It should be noted, however, that agency direct-deal authority ". . . extends only the placement of print orders and to the transmission of copy and proofs. . . . All other authority rests with GPO's Contracting Officers." GPO Handbook. Section IV, ¶ 2, at 9. See, R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, GPO BCA 15-90 (March 6, 1992), Sl. op. at 7, fn. 6. 4 As explained in GPO's Printing Procurement Regulation: (1) "F.O.B. Contractor's City" means that the contractor is liable for insuring safe delivery of all items within the contractor's commercial zone, with the Government assuming responsibility only for the safe delivery of all other shipments, provided that the contractor has met all requirements of the contract relative to packing and shipping; and (2) "F.O.B. Destination" places responsibility for insuring safe delivery to the point(s) of destination specified in the contract of the contractor. GPO Printing Procurement Regulation. GPO Publication 305.3 (September 1, 1988), Chap. V (Transportation and Traffic Management), Sect. 2 (Liability). ¶¶ 1, 2. [Emphasis added.] Print order 20477 was shipped to HUD's facility in Tampa, Florida (R4 File. Tab c). Therefore, under the terms of the contract the order was sent "F.O.B. Contractor's City" (R4 File, Tab A, p. 10). 5 Apparently, HUD used its in-house Xerox machine to complete the order; i.e., reproduce additional folders to make up for the shortage (R4 File, Tab C). 6 The Complaint was in the form of a memorandum, dated August 16, 1991, but was not sent to the Board until a month later. The reason is apparent from the document itself. The list of the Respondent's actions in the Complaint discloses that it was written over a period of time -- the memorandum is dated August 16, 1991, but the last action of the Respondent listed is August 27, 1991. Furthermore, the subject line of the Complaint reads: "Mismanagement and discrimination against B.P. Printing and Office Supplies in the period of six months from March 1991 to [August] 1991. The dispute due to Print [o]rder 20477, Jacket 531-043 is just a start." Overall, the Appellant believes that eight other cases should be considered by the Board in the context of this appeal -- "Exception clause" of Program 1422-M, Program 1426-S, Program 1403-M, Jacket No. 535-488, Program 3445- S (Print order 40006), Jacket No. 535-720, Jacket No. 535-512, and Jacket No. 631-655. See, Appellant's Letter, dated February 28, 1992. Commenting on the Board's Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference, p. 2 (Appellant's Letter, dated February 29, 1992). 7 The appeal file shows that for some reason not apparent in the record, a copy of the Appellant's Supplemental Memorandum was not served on the Respondent until November 20, 1991. 8 In its letter dated February 28, I992, commenting on the Board's report of the prehearing telephone conference held on January 14, 1992, the Appellant renewed its argument that the main thrust of its appeal concerned mismanagement and discrimination by the ARPPO, and that eight other cases should be considered by the Board -- "Exception Clause" of Program 1422-M, Program 1426-S, Program 1403M, Jacket No. 535-488, Program 3446-S (Print order 40006), Jacket No. 53S-720, Jacket No. 535-512, and Jacket No. 631-655-in order to fully understand this central issue. Appellant's Letter. dated February 28, 1992, p. 2. Moreover, the Appellant asks the Board to award it punitive damages. Id., p. 4. 9 During the prehearing telephone conference on January 14, 1992, the Appellant repeated that the dispute had arisen because of the "discrimination shown and unfair practices adopted by the Contracting Officer. . . " RPTC, p. 5. As indicated in the conference report, "[a]ccording to the Appellant, the unfair practices adopted by the Contracting Officer were evident not only in the matter involved in the Appeal, but also in other cases cited in Attachments 1 to 16 of his Complaint and Amended Complaint (October 12, 1991). In particular, the Appellant referred to the Contracting Officer's decision not to offer further work to the Appellant on Program 1422-M, and his final decision to terminate the Appellant's Jacket No. 535-394 contract for default (which is the subject of a separate appeal), as proof of the Contracting Officer's discriminatory conduct." See, Complaint, Attachments 4 and 12." Id., pp. 5-6. 10 Accordingly, the Appellant asked the Board to award it punitive damages. Appellant's Letter, dated February 28, 1992, p. 4. 11 In its December 2, 1991 Answer to the Complaint, the Respondent raised another jurisdictional issue by asserting as a defense that the Board lacked jurisdiction to entertain the appeal because it was not filed within 90 days from the date of receipt of the Contracting Officer's final decision, and hence was untimely. Answer, Second Defense, p. 2. Neither party has requested a hearing on the jurisdictional question raised in the Answer. Board Rules, Rule 5. However, an examination of the appeal file convinces the Board that it has jurisdiction to decide this case. There is nothing in the record to indicate when the Appellant received the Contracting Officer's letter of April 11, 1991. In any event, July 10, 1991 would be the 90th day under the Board's rule regarding the computation of time (which does not count the day of the event from which the designated period of time begins to run) even if it was assumed that the Appellant received the Contracting Officer's letter on April 11, 1991. Board Rules, Preface to Rules, III.B. Furthermore, while the Board's appeal file does not contain the envelope in which the Appellant mailed its Notice of Appeal, for the purpose of this case, the Board presumes that it was dispatched on the day it was written (July 10, 1991), and therefore was timely under the so-called "mail box" rule. Cf., Micrographic Technology, Inc., ASBCA No. 25577, 81-2 BCA ¶ 15,357. 12 At the prehearing telephone conference, the Appellant also mentioned that, in any event, the Contracting Officer's price reduction figure of $74.20 was incorrect. According to the Appellant's calculations, the correct price reduction should have been $63.83. RPTC, p. 7. See Complaint, Attachment 15. 13 The record on which the Board's decision is based consists of: (1) the Notice of Appeal. dated July 10, 1991; (2) the R4 File (Tabs A-O); (3) the Complaint, dated August 16, 1991, and sent to the Board on September 14, 1991; (4) the memorandum, dated October 2, 1991, providing information supplementing the R4 File, and sent to the Board on October 12, 1991; (5) the Answer, dated December 2, 1991; (6) the Amended Complaint, dated January 10, 1992; (7) the Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference; (8) the Appellant's comments to the Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference; and (9) the Respondent's comments to the Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference. 14 See note 10 supra. 15 See note 6 supra. 16 Rule 11 Allows either party the option of waiving a hearing and to submit its case to the Board upon the record. Rule 12 provides two alternate procedures, available solely at the election of the appellant, for claims of $10,000 or less (Small claims (Expedited) Procedure; Rules 12.1;(a), 12.2), and for claims of $50,000 or less (Accelerated Procedure; Rules 12.1(b). 12.3). In this regard, the Board Rules adopt the procedural regulations of Executive branch boards of contract appeals. See, e.g., General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure (GSBCA Rules), 48 C.F.R. Parts 6101.11, 6101.13, 6101.14. However, these optional procedures relate to the speed with which a case must be processed by the Board (120 days for the Small Claims (Expedited) Procedure and 180 days for the Accelerated Procedure), and not to an appellant's right to hearing, which may be had under both procedures. 17 Compare, GSBCA Rules, 48 C.F.R. Part 6101.9 (Election of hearing or record submission), which clearly states, in pertinent part: "Each party shall inform the Board, in writing, whether it elects a hearing or submission of its case on the record. . . A hearing will be held if one of the parties elects one. . . " 18 Because GPO is a legislative branch agency, the CDA does not apply, as a matter of law, to the contracts it awards. See, Tatelbaum v. United States, 749 F.2d 729, 730 (Fed. Cir. 1984); The Wessel Company, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 17, fn. 18. See also, GPO Instruction 110.10C. ¶ 3. 19 In this case, although the Appellant made its request for a hearing prior to its receipt of the Respondent's Answer, contrary to the procedure set forth in Rule 8 of the Board Rules, the Board has at all times treated the Appellant's election as valid. See, RPTC, p. 2. In that regard, Rule 8 is not jurisdictional and may be waived by the Board at its discretion. As noted in the Federal Bar Association Board of Contract Appeals Practice Manual (1981) FBA Manual: ". . . [The hearing election rule] is not self-executing, since it prescribes no firm time limit, and tends to be honored more in the breach than in the observance. On occasion, one of the parties expresses its desire for a hearing at the time of filing a notice of appeal or a pertinent pleading." See, FBA Manual, Chap. IV, Pretrial Practice, Sect. A, ¶ 2, p. IV-l. 20 The principle that an agency is not obligated to conduct an adjudicatory hearing unless there are material issues of fact to be resolved is "black letter" administrative law. See, e.g., State of California Department of Education v. Bennett, 843 F.2d 333 (9th Cir. 1988); Veg-Mix, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, 832 F.2d 601 (D.C. Cir. 19S7); Louisiana Land and Exploration Company v. F.E.R.C., 788 F.2d 1132 (5th Cir. 1986). The reason for the rule is simple -- agency's are not required to conduct meaningless evidentiary hearings which would serve absolutely no purpose. See, e.g., United States v. Cheramie B- Truc No. 5, Inc., 538 F.2d 696 (5th Cir. 1976), rehearing denied 559 F.2d 1217 (5th Cir. 1977); Monumental Health Plan, Inc. v. Department of Health and Human Services, 510 F.Supp. 244 (D. Md. 1981). In short, there must be a dispute worth hearing. See, Greenwald v. Whalen, 609 F.2d 665 (2d Cir. 1979). 21 For a discussion of "Government claims," see generally, John Cibinic, Jr. & Ralph C. Nash, Jr., Administration of Government Contracts, 2d ed., (The George Washington University, 1986), pp. 959-63. 22 As the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals stated in Unimatic Manufacturing Company: "No delay by the Government in giving notice of non receipt precludes its recovery of payments induced by erroneous, if not false, certifications of shipment." Unimatic Manufacturing Company, supra, 84-1 BCA ¶ I7,099, at 85,111. 23 In this particular case, because Print order 20477 was sent "F.O.B. Contractor's City" the "Government agent" for the purpose of the "RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY" clause would have been the USPS employee at the Rockbridge Branch Post office receiving the cartons for shipment to HUD's Tampa, Florida facility (R4 File, Tab E). See note 4 supra. 24 Although the Appellant's "shipping list" shows HUD as the addressee, there is no information on the "Address" line. Thus, while other evidence in the record discloses that Print Order 20477 was shipped to HUD in Tampa, Florida (R4 File, Tab C), the "shipping list" itself does not provide that information. Consequently, there is no merit to the Appellant's contention that once the Respondent learned how Print Order 20477 was packaged for shipment it should have placed a tracer to locate the missing 28 copies. Without the requisite information concerning the missing carton such an action would have been difficult, if not impossible, for the USPS. 25 As indicated previously, the parties disagree on the correct amount of the price reduction in this case. See note 12 supra. Their dispute concerns the difference between $74.20 (the Contracting Officer's figure) and $63.83 (the Appellant's calculation). The Board is unable to resolve that dispute on the basis of this record. Therefore, in accordance with Board policy in such situations, the matter is remanded to the parties to determine the correct price reduction figure. See, e.g., American Drafting and Laminating Company, GPO BCA 15-85 (June 25, 1986), Sl. op. at 4-5. See also, e.g., Edward Brothers, Inc., GPO CAB 3-83 (May 3, 1984), Sl. op. at 4-5; Celia Translations, Inc., GPO CAB 10-79 (February 6, 1981), Sl. op. at 12.