U.S. Government Printing Office
Contract Appeals Board

Lawrence W. Kennelly, Chairman
James R. Wright, Member
Morris J. Mervis, Member
Panel 79-17

Appeal of Media Press Lithographers
Jacket Nos. 667-095, 667-097, 667-098, 667-099, 667-100
December 28, 1979

This is an appeal filed on August 1, 1979, by Media Press
Lithographers of P.O. Box 577, Dexter, Missouri, under the
"Disputes" clause article 29, U.S. Government Printing Office
Contract Terms No. 1, as revised July 15, 1970, which is an
integral part of the contract between Media Press and the
Government Printing Office (GPO) for the printing of forms.

I.  Statement of facts

1.  An informal hearing was held on December 13, 1979, at the
GPO.  Appellant was represented by its President, Robert J.
Diehl, and the contracting officer was represented by James C.
Lane, Jr., Esq. of the GPO's General Counsel's Office.

2.  Appellant was awarded a contract, Jacket Numbers 667-095,
667-097, 667-098, 667-099, 667-100, for the printing of five
different sets of forms for the USDA Farmers Home Administration.

3.  These five orders were accepted by the Appellant on May 8,
1979.  The camera copy was received by the contractor on May 9,
1979.  Delivery of all forms was made on June 14, 1979.

The camera copy consisted of one piece of copy for the face, one
piece of copy for the back and one sheet with the appropriate
copy of the change lines for each order.

4.  There was no evidence in the Rule 4 File or presented at the
hearing held that Media Press ever questioned any personnel in
the St. Louis Regional Printing Procurement Office of the GPO
about the copy furnished, or the type of changes shown in the
specifications prior to the production of these orders.  There
was one request that was received and it was that the Appellant
requested permission to drill all parts of all orders.  The
customer agreed to this change in drilling specifications and the
contractor was instructed by telephone to drill all parts on the
five orders.

5.  On June 14, 1979, the GPO Regional Printing Procurement
Office was notified by USDA Farmers Home Administration that the
forms on all five orders were printed with incorrect form

6.  Samples of each order were brought to the St. Louis Regional
Printing Procurement Office for inspection and comparison with
the original copy.  The contracting officer and two printing
specialist compared the printed samples to the original copy.
The copy for the change lines for Jackets 667-099 and 667-100 was
missing.  USDA-FmHA stated that copies for these form numbers
were not returned by the contractor.  The contracting officer was
satisfied that the copy for the missing change lines was
furnished to Media Press since no complaint was received from
Media Press and printed samples showed the use of the form
numbers from Jacket 667-100.

7.  The defects were noted as follows:

Jacket   P.O.   Forms No.   Defect

667-095   57   1980-42   Wrong form No. on Part 1
667-097   58   1980-46   Wrong form No. on Parts 1 & 2
667-098   59   1980-47   Wrong form No. on Parts 1 & 2
667-099   60   1980-45   Wrong form No. on Parts 1 & 2
667-100   61   1980-49   Wrong form No. on Parts 1 & 2

The contracting officer also noted that the form numbers 1980-47
and 1980-45 did not appear on any of the sample forms from these
five orders.

The contracting officer determined that the correct copy had been
furnished to the contractor for each order; the contractor should
have been able to produce these orders with the correct form
numbers because the form number was furnished on the strips of
copy for the part designations.

8.  On July 13, 1979, the contracting officer sent a rejection
notice to the Appellant in which he notified the company that all
of the orders were produced with the incorrect form numbers on
one or more parts of all sets; that the original camera copy was
examined and was correct when mailed to the Appellant.

9.  The Appellant was requested to replace or correct all copies
of the five defective orders on or before August 24, 1979.

10.  The Appellant was advised that it was a final decision of
the contracting officer made pursuant to the Article entitled
"Disputes" in GPO Contract Terms No. 1 which is an integral part
of the contract.  The decision would be final and conclusive
unless within 30 days from the date of the receipt of the
decision a written appeal addressed to the Public Printer was
mailed or furnished to the contracting officer.  Pending the
resolution of any such appeal, the Appellant was to proceed with
the performance of the contract and in accordance with the
contracting officer's decision.

11.  On August 1, 1979, the Appellant wrote to the Public Printer
and appealed the decision of the contracting officer.  The
Company claims that it performed the jobs in exact accordance
with the print orders issued and the mistake occurring in the
final forms was incurred due to non-specific instructions issued
by the US GPO.  The Appellant could not understand why the forms
produced were not usable to the ordering agency taking the
position that the forms could be used by referencing the
transaction number much more easily than by referencing an
untabled form number.

II. Testimony at Hearing

At the hearing, the Rule 4 File was in evidence and Mr. Diehl
testified on behalf of the Appellant. Mr. Rierson of USDA-FmHA
testified as to why the forms were not usable with the wrong form
numbers.  Mr. Diehl testified how his employee performed the
camera work.  He was cross-examined by Mr. Lane and among others
answered the following questions:

Q.  You are not arguing that he did it correctly?
A.  I think he had good intentions, but not correctly.

Q.  Did he ignore part of the instructions?
A.  No, he made a perfunctory proofreading of them and assumed
they were all the same and was not correct.

Q.  When he cut up the marginal changes, what did he do with the
A.  They are all there (in Rule 4 File).


Q.  What did he do with the balance?
A.  File 13.

Q.  Was any question raised on these?
A.  No, not until they were received (USDA-FmHA).

It was also bought out at the hearing that all five jobs were
received in one envelope.  There was a sheet with each print
order indicating the change.  The combining of the copy and the
marginal change took place when one shot was made to save film.
The man doing the work believed he had made the marginal changes.
What he did was make a perfunctory proofreading and assumed the
numbers were the same for the first copy of each form, and
another for the second copy.  He made one shot for all five sets
and the result was the numbers were not the correct ones, and not
the ones submitted with the copy.  The missing numbers evidently
were thrown away.

III. Argument of Contractor

The changes were marginal changes and the definition of a
marginal change in the Simplified Procurement Contract Program
349M, Section III 3.2.(b) reads:

"Item 3"  Marginal (mar) changes are defined as the change or
deletion of one line of words, phrases, designating letters or
numbers, etc; usually but not necessarily, appearing in the
margin; not affecting the spacing of the base form.  Marginal
words or phrases changes will be restricted to one line."

The marginal change is one line and here there were two lines
requiring change.

The Appellant read the definition of minor change in the contract
which in effect provides a minor change is two marginal changes
per part.

Apparently the argument being made is that a minor change was
required here, and the copy that read "Type of change - Face -
Marginal" was incorrect.

The Appellant also argues that there was no indication the
changes requested were form numbers, because there was a
different transaction number on each.  When a form number is
involved it usually is proceeded by "FmHA Form".

The Appellant also argues that the Agency could use the forms
that were printed by referencing the transaction number.

IV. Position of Government

1.  The contract was specific as to what the Government wanted

2.  The camera copy was clear that the changes were marginal and
an extra sheet was sent indicating the marginal changes.

3.  The Agency uses the form numbers for referencing and could
not use forms that have the wrong number.

4.. The job must be reprinted.

V.  Opinion

We have a contract entered into between a contractor and the
United States Government Printing Office for the printing of
forms for the USDA-FmHA.  Copy was supplied by the GPO and
certain marginal changes were requested.

If the Appellant had any question on this matter, an inquiry
should have been made as to what was not clear in the
specifications.  If this had been done, then there would have
been no error made.  In this case, the Appellant made a mistake
and did not put the proper form numbers on each set of forms.
The contract is clear as to what the obligation of the Appellant
is.  Article 2 US GPO Contract Terms No. 1 provides:

"No change can be made by the contractor in any provision, term,
quantity, cost or operation under any order except on written
authorization from the contracting officer."

The Appellant made a change without such authorization.  The law
is clear on the subject that the Government is entitled to strict
compliance with specifications.

In Ideal Restaurant Supply Co., Inc., VACAB 67-1 BCA  6237 at
28,847, the Board states:

"The Board must decide if Appellant was justified in not
following strictly the provisions of the specifications, relying
on custom and precedent, if the Government was correct in
demanding exact compliance with the specifications.

Contracting Officers have the right to insist upon strict
compliance with specifications.  There is no legal requirement
that material or equipment offered by contractor not wholly in
accordance with specifications be accepted in substitution for
the item specified notwithstanding such substitute may be
equivalent of that specified. Slingerland Drum Co., ASBCA 2131, 6
CCF  61,658, 30 Comp. Gen. 509; 36 id. 251; Bain Roofing Co.,
ASBCA 2688, 6 CCF  61.830; Farwell Company v. U.S., 137 Ct. Cl.
832; A. E. Minstein Construction Company, VACAB 174 (June 27,

In Farwell Co. v. U.S., cited above, the Court held it is a well
established basic principle that the Government is ordinarily
entitled to get construction features it has specified and it is
not within the province of the contractor to substitute his
judgment by determining that something different is suitable."

Also see:  Consolidated Airborne Systems, Inc., ASBCA 10602,
11154, 66-1 BCA  5582 (1966); Polyphase Contracting Corp., ASBCA
No. 11787, 68-1 BCA  6759 (1967).

In American Electric Contracting Corp. v. United States, 579 F.2d
602 (1978) at 608, it provides:

"It is settled that the Government is entitled to obtain
precisely what it contracts for as long as it does not mislead
the contractor.  Rixon Electronics Inc. v. United States, 536
F.2d 1345, 1351, 210 Ct. Cl. 309, 320 (1976); Henry Spen & Co. v.
United States, 153 F.Supp. 407, 139 Ct. Cl. 613 (1957); Farwell
Co. v. United States, 148 F.Supp. 947, 137 Ct. Cl. 832 (1957);
Octagon Process, Inc. v. United States, 141 Ct. Cl. 599, 604

In the instant case, the specifications were clear and they were
not lived up to.  The Government had the right to obtain what it
had contracted for and it did not receive it.  The argument that
a marginal change is one line and in this case there was more
than one line does not detract from the obligation of the
Appellant to supply what had been contracted for.

The Appellant had an obligation to contact the contracting
officer if there were any question.  When the Appellant went
ahead on his own and printed the forms the way he thought they
should be printed, he did so at his peril.  The Government may
reject the offered product and default the contractor.

VI. Decision

The Appeal is denied.  The contracting officer was within his
rights in rejecting the forms that were submitted because they
did not conform with the specifications.