U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS WASHINGTON, DC 20401 In the Matter of ) ) The Appeal of ) ) WEB BUSINESS FORMS, INC. ) Docket No. GPO BCA 31-89 Jacket No. 232-662 ) Purchase Order 12887 ) DECISION AND ORDER By letter dated August 1, 1989, Web Business Forms, Inc. (Appellant or Contractor), 6 Shirley Avenue, Franklin Township, New Jersey 08873, filed a timely appeal from the June 20, 1989, final decision of Contracting Officer James L. Leonard, of the U.S. Government Printing Office's (Respondent or GPO or Government) Printing Procurement Department, Washington, DC 20401, rejecting the Appellant's request for payment in the amount of $1,188.00 for printing forms which had been rejected under its contract identified as Purchase Order 12887, Jacket No. 232-662. The Appellant based its claim on the ground that GPO's instructions were bad and incomplete information was furnished to the Contractor (R4 File, Tab M).1 For the reasons which follow, the decision of the Contracting Officer is hereby AFFIRMED, and the appeal is DENIED.2 FINDINGS OF FACT3 1. On March 15, 1989, the Department of Transportation (DOT) submitted a Printing and Binding Requisition (SF-1) asking GPO to procure 20,000 sets of an 8-1/2" x 11", six-part multi-form entitled "Travel Authorization for Permanent Change of Station" (PCS Forms), to be delivered to the agency by April 20, 1989 (R4 File, Tab E). Attached to the SF-1 were the 1972 specifications for the PCS Forms with handwritten notations concerning the changes DOT wished to make; e.g., omitting the copy designation "Accounting Office" Part 1; eliminating the carbon paper between Parts 1 and 2, etc. The SF-1 also said that DOT would supply the printer with three (3) pieces of camera copy, and a construction sample which should be followed for the purpose of aligning the margins. 2. The Appellant, one of 17 bidders for this contract, made the lowest offer (R4 File, Tab B). On March 27, 1989, the Respondent issued Purchase Order 12887 awarding the job to the Appellant for the contract price of $1,100.00 (R4 File, Tab A).4 3. As written, the Purchase Order described the form to be produced, in pertinent part, as follows: FINISHED PRODUCT: Single stub; carbon interleaved sets STUB LENGTH: 8-1/2" STUB 1/2 to 1": Internal glue or paste DETACHED SIZE (inches): 8-1/2" x 11" PAPER COLOR: White (All Parts) PAPER KIND: C.W. Writing (All Parts) SUB NO. (LATITUDE): Part 1-15-16, Parts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6-12-13 TYPE OF CHANGE: Part 2-Major, Parts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6- Marginal5 COLOR OF INK: Black-Part 1 Face and Back, Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 Back only PRINTS HEAD TO: Head (Part 1 only) STUB POSITION: T[op] (All Parts) NOTE: No carbon between Parts 1 and 2. MARGINS: Part 1 Face-1/2" (Head), 5/16" (Foot), 6/10" (Left), 6/10" (Right); Part 2 Back-3/10" (Head), 3/10" (Foot), 2/6" (Left), 2/6" (Right) CARBON PAPER AND REMOVAL: Black; carbon coating must cover 8-1/2" x 10-4/6"; Dual purpose; Full sub length-2/6 inch short at Bottom; Carbon copies must be clear, and legible on all parts when forms are filled in by-Manual/Electric Typewriter and Ballpoint Pen See, R4 File, Tab A.6 4. With regard to the Government-furnished material (GFM), the Contractor was told that it would be provided with: (a) camera copy; (b) a revised reprint to "use as a construction guide"; (c) one type and rule form; and (d) one reproduction proof for the shipping container labels (R4 File, Tab A). This GFM would be available to the Appellant by March 29, 1989 (R4 File, Tab A). The record indicates that the day after the Contractor received the GFM, it telephoned the Respondent's Departmental Account Representative Division (DARD) of the Customer Service Department, for an explanation of some markings on the camera copy and to resolve a grammatical error with regard to the Part 3 designator (R4 File, Tab G, p. 4).7 5. The Appellant printed the PCS Forms and delivered them to DOT by the contract due date, April 20, 1989. Three weeks later, on May 10, 1989, the Respondent received a report from DOT that the quality of the PCS Forms delivered by the Contractor did not meet the contract specifications and could not be utilized (R4 File, Tab E). As DOT saw it, the problem was caused by the Appellant's shooting the construction sample and printing from that, rather than using the camera copy which it had been provided for that purpose (R4 File, Tab E). Accordingly, DOT told GPO that it wanted the entire order reprinted (R4 File, Tab E). 6. The Respondent immediately notified the Appellant of DOT's complaint and asked that the revised camera copy, which the Government had furnished for use as a construction sample, be returned, since the Contractor had neglected to do so when the job was completed (R4 File, Tab C). See also, Draft Report, p. 26.8 The Appellant complied with this request, and also sent a "Read & Reply" message to the Respondent indicating that the PCS Forms had been produced in accordance with the specifications and the construction sample (R4 File, Tab D). 7. On May 22, 1989, the Respondent telephoned the Appellant to discuss reprinting the job (R4 File, Tab F).9 The Contractor balked at the direction to reprint, contending that the Appellant was not at fault (R4 File, Tab F). Stating that it would call back after reviewing "all pertinent documentation," the Appellant telephoned GPO that same day affirming its position that the Government must have been at fault for any error in the printed product (R4 File, Tab F). However, during this conversation, the Contractor also acknowledged that it used the construction sample as camera copy for Parts 2-6 of the PCS Form (R4 File, Tab F). 8. On May 23, 1989, Senneff met with the Contracting Officer and showed him DOT's complaint (Notice of Quality Defects, GPO Form 1815, dated May 10, 1989)), the contract specifications, the camera copy, and the construction sample (R4 File, Tab G, p. 2). After looking at this material, the Contracting Officer concluded that the camera copy was clearly "folioed",10 the construction sample was properly identified as such, and the contract specifications left no doubt that the GFM included camera copy and a sample to be used "for construction only" (R4 File, Tab G, p. 2). As a result of their meeting, Senneff said that she would telephone the Appellant and schedule a reprint date (R4 File, Tab G, p. 2).11 9. On May 23, 1989, Senneff telephoned the Appellant and spoke to Vartughian, about having the PCS Forms reprinted (R4 File, Tab G, p. 3). After some discussion, Vartughian asked Senneff to send him the camera copy, negatives and the construction sample for review, so he could see where the mistake occurred (R4 File, Tab G, p. 3). Senneff replied that she would send the material immediately, and Vartughian responded that he would call back the next day with a reprint date and disposition instructions (R4 File, Tab G, p. 3). Their conversation was confirmed by Senneff in a letter to the Contractor that same day, which also stated that reprinting was required because the original shipment had been rejected for the following defect: "Failure to follow specification and camera copy. . . ." (R4 File, Tab H). 10. During their conversation, Vartughian mentioned that he had talked to three DARD employees-Ras Beard, Pat Morrissey and James Willard-on March 30, 1989, about the circled folios on the GFM, and said that they told him to print the PCS Forms as he did (R4 File, Tab G, p. 3). Since there was nothing in the file documenting that discussion, Senneff spoke to the three employees identified by Vartughian (R4 File, Tab G, p. 4). As indicated previously,12 Beard said he had discussed the marking on the back of the camera copy with the Appellant, and confirmed the placement of the backside numbers below the circle folio for the face. Willard, for his part, authorized a minor grammatical change in the Part 3 designator. See, note 4 supra. Morrissey told Senneff that as a trainee, he really did not participate in any discussions with the Contractor (R4 File, Tab G, p. 4). After talking to these employees, Senneff called Vartughian and told him that she had looked into the matter, and that no one from GPO had ever authorized the Appellant to print the PCS Forms from the construction sample (R4 File, Tab G, p. 3). 11. On May 23, 1989, Senneff returned the camera copy to the Appellant (R4 File, Tab O). Two days later, Vartughian telephoned Senneff and arranged June 12, 1989, as the date for delivery of the reprinted PCS Forms to the DOT's new warehouse in Landover, Maryland (R4 File, Tabs G, p. 3, and I). He also said that the Contractor was reprinting "under protest", and would seek a final decision from the Contracting Officer (R4 File, Tab G, p. 3). In the interim, it seems that on May 24, 1989, Vartughian had telephoned the Contracting Officer, who told the Appellant that since the camera copy was marked correctly, it was a mistake to use the construction sample as camera copy (R4 File, Tab J). The Contracting Officer later confirmed this conversation in a letter to the Appellant dated May 26, 1989 (R4 File, Tab K). 12. On May 26, 1989, Senneff sent the remaining GFM to the Appellant. See, Senneff Declaration, ¶ 2. In that regard, the Contractor received: (a) copies of the previously-printed sample sheets marked "Construction Sample Only"; (b) the original of an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper with a handwritten notation across the top which read, "Designators Print at Bottom of Base c/c. See Dummy"; and (c) two pages of "glossy" to used as camera ready copy. Id., ¶¶ 2.a,b (citing, R4 File, Tabs N and O).13 13. By letter dated June 5, 1989, the Appellant wrote to the Contracting Officer stating that while it was reprinting the order, it disagreed with the Respondent's position that the Contractor was at fault, and believed instead that the error which caused the problem with the initial shipment of PCS Forms was "a direct result [of] bad instructions and incomplete information furnished to our company by GPO. . . ." (R4 File, Tab L). Accordingly, the Contractor asked the Contracting Officer for a final decision so that it could pursue its appeal rights under GPO Contract Terms (R4 File, Tab L). 14. By letter dated June 20, 1989, the Contracting Officer furnished his final decision to the Appellant (R4 File, Tab M). In his letter, the Contracting Officer reasoned as follows: The reprinting of this product was required by your failure to follow specifications. The specifications stated that the Government would furnish "camera copy and a revised reprint copy to be used as a construction guide." Unfortunately, your company used the construction guide as camera copy. Contract Terms (GPO Pub. 310.2) states: "The contractor is required to examine the furnished property immediately upon receipt. If at that time there is a disagreement with the description or the requirements as presented in the specification, and prior to the performance of any work, the contractor shall contact the U.S. Government Printing Office." The facts in this matter have been reexamined and the original decision will remain as previously stated. See, R4 File, Tab M, p. 1. [Original emphasis.] 15. By letter dated August 1, 1989, the Contractor timely appealed the Contracting Officer's final decision to the Board. ISSUE PRESENTED Was the Respondent at fault for the defects found in the Appellant's initial shipment of PCS Forms, thus entitling the Contractor to payment in the amount of $1,188.00, or was the problem with that order the result of the Appellant's own errors, justifying rejection of the delivery by the Government? POSITION OF THE PARTIES14 This case is before the Board because the Appellant, acknowledging that its initial printing of PCS Forms was incorrect, seeks to shift the blame for the error to the Respondent. The Appellant's position was succinctly stated in its letter to the Contracting Officer, dated June 5, 1989, when it said that the mistake was caused by "bad instructions and incomplete information furnished to our company by GPO." See, R4 File, Tab L. As amplified in its appeal letter to the Board, dated August 1, 1989, the nub of the problem, according to the Contractor, was that while the Respondent provided two pieces of camera copy (art boards) for the face of Part 1 (Travel Authorization) and the back of Part 1 (Travel Order),15 respectively, it was not advised that the latter was also to be used as the camera copy for Parts 2 through 6 of the PCS Form; i.e., that particular art board was to be reproduced six times not just once. See, Letter from the Appellant to the Board, dated August 5, 1989, p. 1. See also, Draft Report, p. 20. Consequently, the Appellant erroneously printed Parts 2 through 6 from the construction sample (a prior printed form) furnished with the GFM. See, R4 File, Tab J. See also, Draft Report, pp. 19-20, 24, 25-26, 27. Since the Respondent failed to issue the proper instructions, the Appellant believes that it is entitled to reimbursement in the amount of $1,188.00 for the first printing of the PCS Forms. The Respondent, on the other hand, argues that any confusion experienced by the Appellant is its own fault and not the Government's. R. Brf., p. 8. Specifically, GPO contends that the contract terms were unambiguous and the GFM clearly indicated how the PCS Forms were to be printed. R. Brf., pp. 4-5. Consequently, the Government believes that when the specifications and the GFM are considered in toto, it is apparent that the same camera copy was to be used for the back of Part 1 and the face of Parts 2 through 6 of the PCS Forms. R. Brf., p. 5. Therefore, if the Appellant had properly read the specifications prior to printing the PCS Forms, the error would not have occurred. R. Brf., p. 4. On the other hand, if the problem stemmed either from the fact that the Contractor failed to receive all of the GFM it was entitled to, or simply did not understand the instructions and specifications, then under GPO Contract Terms, it had a duty to contact the Contracting Officer prior to printing the PCS Forms for a clarification.16 R. Brf., pp. 7-8 (citing, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 7 (Government Furnished Property)). See also, Draft Report, pp. 14, 22, 26-27. Accordingly, the Respondent blames the Appellant's own negligence for the misprinting of the original PCS Forms, and requests a judgment in its favor for that reason. R. Brf., p. 8. DECISION17 The Board has carefully considered the record in this case, especially the discussions which took place during the prehearing conference held on April 19, 1990, as detailed in the Draft Report.18 Those discussions indicate quite clearly the existence of a major dispute with respect to the GFM provided to the Appellant to perform the work, including what exactly had the Contractor been given to use for printing the PCS Forms.19 Draft Report, p. 26. The GPO contract clause pertaining to GFM which is relevant to this appeal, provides, in pertinent part: 7. Government Furnished Property (GFP) The contractor is required to examine the furnished property immediately upon receipt. If at that time there is disagreement with the description or the requirements as presented in the specification (or print order/GPO Form 2511), and prior to the performance of any work, the contractor shall contact the U.S. Government Printing Office, Central Office Printing Procurement Division, Washington, DC 20401, or the originating Regional Printing Procurement Office, and contest the description. (Failure to examine the GFP/specification and bring any discrepancies to the attention of the Contracting Officer will not relieve the contractor of responsibility to perform.) The Contracting Officer will then investigate and make a determination which will be final. If the decision is reached that the original description is proper, the contractor will be required to proceed with the work. Failure to agree to the description shall be a dispute within the meaning of article 5 "Disputes." . . . See, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 7 (Government Furnished Property). A contractor's duty to notify GPO under the circumstances described in the above clause is an affirmative one. Custom Printing Company, GPO BCA 10-87 (May 10, 1988), Sl. op. 12. The thrust of the Appellant's case is its view that the GFM provided by the Government, as well as the Respondent's augmenting instructions, were either poor or incomplete; i.e., they did not clearly indicated what the Contractor was expected to do. Where, as here, a contractor attacks the GFM as either inadequate or unsuitable, it has the burden of proving that it notified the Respondent of its problems in accordance with GPO Contract Terms; i.e., "prior to the performance of any work." Printing Unlimited, GPO BCA 21-90 (November 30, 1993), Sl. op. at 13; Custom Printing Company, supra, Sl. op. 12. Accord, Southern Athletic Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 9258, 65-1 BCA ¶ 4,649; Sidran Sportswear Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 9557, 65-1 BCA ¶ 4,632; Kilgore, Inc., ASBCA No. 1387 (1953)). Contrary to the view held by the Appellant, the Board concludes from the evidence of record that the Contractor received all of the GFM which was to be provided under the contract. The record is also clear that the Appellant did not understand the specifications with respect to formatting the forms. Therefore, under the terms of its contract with GPO, the Contractor was supposed to contact the Respondent for instructions on how to proceed, "prior to the performance of any work." See, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 7 (Government Furnished Property). Interestingly, the record evidence indicates that the Appellant did, in fact, recognize problems with the GFM "prior to the performance of any work." In that regard, the R4 File shows that the day after receiving the GFM, the Contractor telephoned the Respondent's DARD for an explanation of some camera copy markings and to resolve a grammatical error with regard to the Part 3 designator (R4 File, Tab G, p. 4).20 However, there is nothing in the record to show that Appellant brought the specific defects it now relies on to the Respondent's attention. What this case boils down to is a situation where the Contractor, who was uncertain about the contract specifications and the GFM, failed to ask the right questions of the Respondent. The Government cannot be held liable for the Appellant's failure to make a complete inquiry. Printing Unlimited, supra, Sl. op. at 14; Custom Printing Company, supra, Sl. op. 13. Without any positive proof in this record to show that the Contractor fully met its responsibilities under GPO Contract Terms to notify the Respondent of the alleged defects with the GFM "prior to the performance of any work", the evidentiary cupboard regarding the notification issue is bare. What is left are mere assertions by the Appellant that the GFM and the Respondent's instructions, were "bad" and "incomplete" (R4 File, Tab L). Such unsubstantiated assertions standing alone do not constitute proof. R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, GPO BCA 31-90 (February 6, 1992), Sl. op. at 45-46; Fry Communications, Inc./InfoConversion Joint Venture, supra, Sl. op. at 33, fn. 31, 40 (citing, Singleton Contracting Corporation, GSBCA No. 8548, 90-2 BCA ¶ 22,748; Tri-State Services of Texas, Inc., ASBCA No. 38010, 89-3 BCA ¶ 22,064; Gemini Services, Inc., ASBCA No. 30247, 86-1 BCA ¶ 18,736); Palmetto Enterprises, Inc., ASBCA No. 20421, 76-2 BCA ¶ 11,978; S & S Constructors, ASBCA No. 20590, 76-1 BCA ¶ 11,759; Air-A-Plane Corporation, ASBCA No. 3842, 60-1 BCA ¶ 2,547. Accordingly, when the Board considers the record as a whole, it concludes that the Appellant has failed to sustain its burden of proof. Printing Unlimited, supra, Sl. op. at 15; Custom Printing Company, supra, Sl. op. 13. ORDER The Board finds and concludes that by printing the initial order of PCS Forms without a full understanding of the specifications and the GFM, and without seeking a complete clarification from the Respondent "prior to the performance of any work", in accordance with GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 7 (Government Furnished Property), the Appellant assumed the risk of the error which resulted in a rejection of the initial shipment of forms, and thus bears the cost of its own mistake. THEREFORE, the decision of the Contracting officer is AFFIRMED, and the appeal is DENIED. It is so Ordered. July 22, 1994 STUART M. FOSS Administrative Judge _______________ 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 November 29, 1989. GPO Instruction 110.12, Subject: Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure, dated September 17, 1984, Rule 4(a) (Board Rules). It will be referred to hereinafter as the R4 File, with an appropriate Tab letter also indicated. The R4 File consists of 15 documents identified as Tabs A through O. 2 By letter dated January 5, 1990, the Appellant advised the Board that it had elected to have its appeal decided on the record without a hearing. Board Rules, Rules 8 and 11. 3 The factual description of this case is based on the: (a) the Appellant's Notice of Appeal, dated August 1, 1989; (b) R4 File; (c) the Appellant's Letter, dated January 5, 1990, requesting that the Board decide the case on the basis of the written record pursuant to Rule 11 of the Board Rules; (d) the Respondent's Answer, dated February 16, 1990; (e) the Respondent's Notice of Filing, dated May 4, 1990, including the attached Declaration of Rosemary Senneff (Senneff Declaration); (f) the Appellant's Letter, dated May 14, 1990, enclosing a sample form and original art work; (g) the Appellant's Letter, dated May 15, 1990, stating that the original copy that was used as camera copy had been returned to the Quality Assurance Section at GPO's request; and (h) the Report of Telephone Status Conference, dated August 13, 1992 (RTSC). In addition, at the status conference, which was held on July 22, 1992, the Board informed the parties that the former Administrative Judge had prepared a draft Prehearing Telephone Conference Report, dated April 23, 1990 (Draft Report), of the meeting he held on April 19, 1990, but had not issued it to them because an agency reorganization soon afterward resulted in his reassignment to another senior position within GPO. Since the Board believed that the Draft Report should be included as part of the appeal record, it told the parties that they would be provided a copy for their comments and/or corrections. RTSC, pp. 1, 3. Although the Board sent each party a copy of the Draft Report on August 14, 1992, neither of them submitted comments and/or corrections for the Board's consideration. Consequently, the Board included the Draft Report in the record as originally written. See, Order Establishing A Briefing Schedule and Setting a Date for Settling the Record, dated September 16, 1992, p. 2. The facts, which are essentially undisputed, are recited here only to the extent necessary for this decision. 4 In addition to the 20,000 sets of forms, the contract also ordered one complete set of film negatives from the Appellant (R4 File, Tab A). 5 There were no changes to Part 1 of the PCS Form. Furthermore, as defined by the parties at the prehearing conference on April 19, 1990, a major change is one that exceeds 3 inches on a page, while a marginal change is just one line. See, Draft Report, p. 23. 6 The Purchase Order also indicated that the contract would be covered by the relevant provisions of GPO Contract Terms, Solicitation Provisions, Supplemental Specifications and Contract Clauses, GPO Publication 310.2, Effective December 1, 1987 (Rev. 9-88) (GPO Contract Terms) (R4 File, Tab A). 7 According to the note in the appeal file, Ras Beard, and employee of the DARD, answered the Appellant's question concerning the marking on the back of the camera copy, and confirmed that the backside numbers were to be placed "below the circle folio for the face." As for the Part 3 designator, which originally read "Employee-Attached to Initial Travel Voucher", another employee, James Willard, apparently agreed with the Contractor that the "ed" at the end of the word "Attached" was grammatically incorrect, and since those two letters did not appear on the construction sample, authorized the Appellant to print Part 3 without them; i.e., the designator for Part 3 should appear as "Employee-Attach to Initial Travel Voucher". See, R4 File, Tabs G, N and O (Designator Sheet). 8 At the prehearing conference, Counsel for the Appellant, Mark Stanton, Esq., stated that the Contractor had failed to return not only the camera copy, but the construction sample and "two other pieces on artboard" as well, and they were all sent back to GPO's Quality Assurance staff on May 10, 1989. Draft Report, p. 26. However, it is not clear from the record whether Spurgeon Johnson or Ras Beard telephoned the Appellant, although they were both employees of the Respondent's Customer Service Department (R4 File, Tabs C and D). Id. 9 The record discloses that the telephone call was made by "J. Bucher". Reference to the GPO telephone directory for the relevant time period, leads the Board to believe that "J. Bucher" was probably Jacqueline A. Bucher, a DARD employee. Furthermore, the record makes several early references to "Ed Vortage" as a representative of the Appellant (R4 File, Tabs F and H). However, it seems clear that "Ed Vortage" was really a corruption of the name "Ed Vartughian," who is the Appellant's President, a mistake mostly due to an initial misreading of his signature (R4 File, Tab D). The misidentification of the Appellant's representative was corrected by Rosemary Senneff, a Printing Specialist in GPO's Quality Assurance Section, who was ultimately assigned to handle this matter for the Respondent (R4 File, Tabs F and G, p. 3). See, Senneff Declaration, ¶ 1. 10 A "folio" is simply a page number. See, Pocket Pal, International Paper Company, Memphis, Tennessee (14th ed., 1989), p. 193. 11 The Contracting Officer also expressed his opinion that DOT could have made matters clearer by drawing a large "X" across the construction sample, but since the camera copy was correct, it should have been followed by the Contractor. In response, Senneff asked if she should so mark the construction sample before returning it to the Appellant, but the Contracting Officer told her that doing so was unnecessary (R4 File, Tab G, p. 2). 12 See, note 7 supra. 13 In her affidavit, Senneff states that the notation "Copies of 3 pieces of c/c [camera copy] ret'd [returned] to K [contractor] on 5/23. Copies show circle for folios[.]" which appears at the bottom of the first page in Tab O of the R4 File, was added later and did not appear on the sheet sent to the Contractor. See, Senneff Declaration, ¶ 2.b. 14 Only the Respondent submitted a written brief in this appeal. See, Respondent's Brief, dated October 19, 1992 (hereinafter R. Brf.). 15 Apparently, the major change indicated in the contract specifications concerned the Travel Authorization portion of the form only. Draft Report, p. 28. 16 As the Respondent notes, during the prehearing conference of April 19, 1990, the parties could not agree about what materials were included in the GFM actually provided to the Appellant. R. Brf., pp. 5-6 (citing, Draft Report, p. 25). In a nutshell, the dispute concerned how many pieces of camera copy were furnished to the Contractor-the Appellant said two pieces, while the Respondent insisted that three had been provided. Draft Report, pp. 13-14, 20-21, 25. (From the Board's examination of Tab O of the R4 File, which the Contractor admitted was identical to the camera copy it received, it seemed to the Board that three pieces were in fact provided; i.e., two sheets plus the instruction sheet. Draft Report, pp. 20-21.) Since this factual dispute had to be resolved in order to decide the case, the Board directed the Respondent to furnish an affidavit from the GPO employee who sent the GFM to the Appellant describing the materials which were included (Senneff Declaration), while the Contractor was asked to submit copies of the materials which it received from the Government and samples of the original printing. Draft Report, pp. 25, 27-28. The Respondent now says that it has reviewed the documents the Appellant submitted to the Board, and it believes that they do not accurately reflect the GFM which was sent to the Contractor. R. Brf., pp. 6-7. The Respondent also claims that the Appellant has "steadfastly refused" to provide copies of the requested documents. R. Brf., p. 7. Accordingly, GPO contends that it is entitled to the benefit of a negative inference that the contents of those documents would be harmful to the Appellant's case. Id. (citing, Jen-Beck Associates, VABCA Nos. 2107-10, 2113-2117, 2119-20, 2122, 2124, 2125, 2127, 2129-2135, 2186, 87-2 BCA ¶ 19,831; Morowitz v. United States, 15 Cl.Ct. 621, 631 (1988). See also, Fry Communications, Inc./InfoConversion Joint Venture, GPO BCA 9-85, Decision on Remand (August 5, 1991), Sl. op. at 39-40. However, the Board has already ruled that both parties have furnished the additional information it requested. See, RTSC, p. 3. Therefore, such a negative inference is not warranted in this case. 17 The record on which the Board's decision is based consists of: (a) the Appellant's Notice of Appeal, dated August 1, 1989; (b) R4 File; (c) the Appellant's Letter, dated January 5, 1990, requesting that the Board decide the case on the basis of the written record pursuant to Rule 11 of the Board Rules; (d) the Respondent's Answer, dated February 16, 1990; (e) the Respondent's Notice of Filing, dated May 4, 1990, including the Senneff Declaration; (f) the Appellant's Letter, dated May 14, 1990, enclosing a sample form and original art work; (g) the Appellant's Letter, dated May 15, 1990, stating that the original copy that was used as camera copy had been returned to the Quality Assurance Section at GPO's request; (h) the draft Prehearing Telephone Conference Report, dated April 23, 1990; and (i) the Report of Telephone Status Conference, dated August 13, 1992. 18 Although the record was mostly compiled before the undersigned was appointed GPO's Administrative Judge, see note 3 supra, that fact is not an impediment to his authorship of this decision. See, C&L Construction Company, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 22993, 23040, 81-2 BCA ¶ 15,373, at 76,168 (citing, Sternberger v. United States [13 CCF ¶ 82,085], 185 Ct.Cl. 528, 401 F.2d 1012 (1968); Sundstrand Turbo v. United States [12 CCF ¶ 81,589], 182 Ct.Cl. 31, 389 F.2d 406 (1968)). 19 See, note 16 supra. 20 See, note 7 supra.