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Mr. Judd. Ransackers?
Miss QUEEN. Similar to Peeping Toms. Maybe some people came through. There are always people in the building all the time.
Mr. Jupp. Kilroy's?
Mr. BROWNSON. Miss Queen, what is your civil-service grade at the present time?
Miss QUEEN. I am a grade 9.
Mr. BROWNSON. The reason I ask is to show the tremendous responsibility under this system that devolves on an employee in grade 7 or grade 9.
Miss QUEEN. What year was that-1951?
Mr. BROWNSON. Are the envelopes in which bids are enclosed date stamped by you when received at the Agency?
Miss QUEEN. No; I do not have a date stamp; I do not use a date stamp.
Mr. BROWNSON. In other words, there is no way of telling whether this envelope was received before the time; for example, if you have a big pile of these bids that come in on contact X and you are awfully busy and in the middle of work, what happens? If you do not get to sorting these things right away, and you do not date these bids that are supposed to be in on a certain hour of the day, what way do you have of knowing that somebody does not put a lot more bids in after they were supposed to be put in that came in the mail in violation of the terms of the invitation?
Miss QUEEN. There is a postmark on the envelope that comes in; there is always a postmark on the envelope.
Mr. BROWNSON. Of course that designates the mailing day.
Mr. BROWNsOx. If you can predict the United States mail that closely, you are better than I am.
Miss QUEEN. You know if a man mailed it 3 days before the closing time that we got it in time; and, if it went through the mailing room, as it does before it comes to the individual people they put a stamp on there.
Mr. BrowNSON. At the time these Retort Pharmaceutical bids came in, did they go through the mail room!
Miss QUEEN. Very likely.
Miss QUEEN. I cannot know. For instance, some bidders bring their bids in.
Mr. BROWNSON. That could be true, and they would have been hand delivered; but if they came in the mail, they would have received a date stamp in the mail room!
Miss QUEEN. Yes.
Mr. Judd. If they are delivered in person, there is all the more reason for having a date stamp.
Miss QUEEN. It was closed bidding. I think our Department has a little confidence in our integrity to feel that we do the right thing and if a bid came in in time it was considered; that if it did not come in in time, it was not considered.
Mr. BROWNSON. Of course, there is no question about confidence in integrity, but I happen to believe in setting up systems where there is not any area of temptation. Miss QUEEN. There is not as we have it now.
At that time we were working under EPS.
Mr. BROWNSON. Retort Pharmaceutical did not have a Washington representative, which shows why the bids came in in the mail.
Miss QUEEN. In most cases; but sometimes I think they would fly down with a personal messenger.
Mr. BROWNSON. In case that bid came in the mail, if you had the envelope, there would be some indication as to when the Retort bids
Miss QUEEN. In some cases, in most cases, we had so many bidsas I said, we had as many as 95 bids evidently I was not aware of the importance of the envelope, and I destroyed an important part of the bid. The bid was what I was concerned about and I do not think I had the envelope in any file while I worked with EPS.
Mr. BROWNSON. Do you recall the instance where the Retort Pharmaceutical did fly down one of those bids by personal messenger?
Miss QUEEN. They did at times; I do not know just when that would be.
Mr. BROWNSON. You do not know how many times they flew down bids by personal messenger?
Miss QUEEN. Occasionally.
Miss QUEEN. Not too many. They do not participate very actively; their supplies are very limited.
Mr. Judd. Approximately how many contracts have they had? Miss QUEEN. I don't know.
Mr. Judd. Does it not seem strange that a small company like that would be flying down bids?
Mr. BROWNSON. The thing that disturbs me about the whole thing is in this matter of negotiation apparently all rules are forgotten. It bothers me, because I can conceive of company A bidding very seriously, solemnly, and carefully on one of those bids, and then I can see company B with an awful lot of opportunity for conniving, if they wanted to do it. It does not promote integrity in industry when that type of thing is left open, either.
Miss QUEEN. That system of bidding has been changed.
Mr. BROWNSON. Aside from establishing the lowest bidder, what services do you perform on these contracts that could be characterized as negotiated contracts? What else do you do on the so-called negotiated contracts which I have just learned are not negotiated contracts at all?
Miss QUEEN. I do not think I have ever-the only other exception to a low-bid award was where you had in the case of DDT, where it was for 6 million pounds and not 1 dealer could supply that amount, and where we were authorized to make progressive awards to the first low bidder, the second, the third, for the quantity they were able to supply. And still that is not negotiated bidding; that is advertised bidding.
Mr. BROWNSON. Was not your primary job the opening of the bids and determining the low bidder?
Miss QUEEN. Today my primary job is not the opening of bids; today they are opened in the bid room.
Mr. Brownson. I am talking about 1951. Your primary job at that time was opening bids, was it not?
Miss QUEEN. It was not my primary job. That was the initial step, to open the envelopes and sort the bids, have them tabulated and put them on the tabulation sheet. That was the then procedure.
Mr. BROWNSON. And to arrive at the lowest bidder?
Miss QUEEN. Then to determine the lowest bid, to make the award, to make what we call now—I think we used the same form at that time-form 1489, which states the requisition number, the authority for the purchase, the legal authority, the method by which the award was made, whether to the lowest bidder or other than the lowest bidder; whether it was a negotiated case.
As I said before, I had very, very few negotiated cases; maybe 1 or 2.
Mr. Brownson. In other words, you negotiated very few negotiated bids?
Miss QUEEN. That is right. Put it that way.
Mr. BROWNSON. In other words, it was your primary duty in 1951 when you were handling this business, to open the envelopes and make up the bidding forms?
Miss QUEEN. For making the award. That was one of the final steps. The first job was to write the invitation to bid. I had to prepare my invitation to bid; I had to prepare the mailing list. Then the duplicating section would duplicate the invitation to bid, so that it could go out to say 240 people. Then the final procedure after the low bid was determined, we had to write the contract, so we wrote the contract. My job was finished with the writing of the contract and mailing the bidder the Government signed contract.
Mr. BROWNSON. When you did make an exception and did award the contract to someone other than the lowest bidder, to whom did you have to make your justification and what form did that justification take?
Miss QUEEN. It was on the tabulation on the reverse side of the tabulation. We gave them the reason for the rejection of the low bid; then on the reverse of the approval form 1489 we stated the reason for the rejection of the low bid, and that is reviewed very thoroughly by the supervisor and then, according to the amount of money, if it is up to, I think, $100,000, Mr. Peed takes the responsibility; if it is over $100,000, Mr. Dowd takes the responsibility; if it is over $250,000, the regional director-I think from $200,000 up to $500,000 the regional director takes the responsibility. But all the awards are approved by Mr. Peed, regardless of the amount.
Mr. BROWNSON. Were purchases of hexylresorcinol pills under the contracts we have discussed assigned to you?
Miss QUEEN. Yes, sir; they were.
Mr. BROWNSON. Did you perform any services in connection with those contracts that could be defined as negotiations?
Miss QUEEN. No, sir.
Mr. Brownson. Is it not true, then, your chief function, insofar as these contracts were concerned, was simply to find the lowest bidder?
Miss QUEEN. To make the award, and we make the award on the basis of the lowest bidder.
Mr. BROWNSON. Can you supply for the record the date on which all of the bids on these six contracts were received ?
Miss QUEEN. I would have to go through the files to tell you.
Mr. Brownson. How are you going to find out, if the envelopes are not there, the dates on which they were received in your office?
Miss QUEEN. I would use the closing date, because we do not take any bids after the closing date.
Mr. BROWNSON. But they might have come in a week in advance of the closing date.
Miss QUEEN. They may be stamped. I would have to look through the files and see. If you would like to look at this, here is a copy of the invitation to bid [exhibiting].
Mr. BROWNSON. Is this one of the ones from the Retort Pharmaceutical?
Miss QUEEN. This contains 12 items, one of which was hexylresorcinol.
Mr. BROWNSON. What number is that one?
Miss QUEEN. It has a requisition number that ends with 2229. Does that identify it for you?
Mr. BROWNSON. I am particularly anxious to see the requision number that ends with 2201-3. This is contract 16149.
Miss QUEEN. This is the invitation. to bid.
Mr. BROWNSON. Now can you tell me the date on which that bid was received ?
Miss QUEEN. That was 2201-2. Excuse me.
Mr. BROWNson. The requisition number is -3 here. I mean the
Miss QUEEN. This one has 12 items. This is contract 16419. It is 2201–2.
Mr. BROWNSON. 16419-1?
Mr. BROWNSON. Can you tell the subcommittee the date that bid was actually received in your office ?
Miss QUEEN. I am looking to see if there was a letter connected with it. I do not seem to see any stamp anywhere on here.
Mr. BROWNSON. Do you have the envelope that that came in?
Mr. Brownson. In other words, you cannot tell, and have no record as to whether this Retort Pharmaceutical bid was received before or after any of the bids from the competitors were received, or even
Miss QUEEN. I know that it did not arrive after, because I never accepted any bids after closing.
Mr. Brownson. What precautions have you taken, in a recordkeeping way, to see that all of the bidders could be assured their bids received equal consideration?
Miss QUEEN. They can always come in and look at the tabulation.
Mr. BROWNSON. You were just saying you are very careful to reject any bid coming in that did not comply with your requirements as to date. Did you notice in the bid that you have in front of you, the
, 2201–3, there is an erasure?
Miss QUEEN. I notice it now. I did not remember seeing it at any time in the handling of this case. I see it now.
Mr. BROWNSON. You have a certain rule about erasures; not?
Miss QUEEN. We are supposed to have the man who writes the bid initial it to show that he has made the correction.
Mr. BROWNSON. And that is so required on the back of your bid form; is it not?
Miss QUEEN. It is on part of the regulations. At that time, you see, we were not using the formal form 33. We wrote up our own invitation to bid, as you can see. It is not the formal form 33. The formal form 33 has rules on the back. We were not doing that at that time.
Mr. BROWNson. Had you noticed that erasure, what would you have done?
Miss QUEEN. I would have asked him to initial it in order to accept it.
Mr. BROWNSON. If he were not around, what would you have done?
Miss QUEEN. If he was not around, I do not think I would have accepted it.
Mr. BROWNSON. You must have looked at that particular price there if you were going to award bids, because that is a part of the figure.
Miss QUEEN. I cannot recall now ever having passed a bid with an erasure as obvious as that one. I do not understand. I do not recall. I am trying to see if there is another copy in the file. Here our invitation to bid said, "Return only one copy of your quotation to the above address."
Mr. BROWNSON. At that time if the low bid had an erasure which this one has, would you have thrown out the low bid? Would you have sent it back to them to have the erasure initialed, or what would you have done?
Miss QUEEN. I think that I would have asked him, if possible, to initial the erasure.
Mr. BROWNSON. What would you have done then, taken this bid out of sequence, put it back in an envelope, sent it in, and asked for the erasure to be initialed ?
Miss QUEEN. I would not send it back. If it were possible for him to come in and initial it, I would have asked him to come in and initial it.
Mr. BROWNSON. Actually, does not the rule also require that you get an explanation for the erasure!
Miss QUEEN. No. They just initialed them.
Miss QUEEN. Sure. Anybody can make a mistake. If the girl makes a mistake in the typewriter, or if he decides that he wants to bid differently, he has a right to erase it and correct it, as long as he initials it.