The failure of the Bay State Clothing Company, who had the contract for suits of clothing for the boys, to furnish garments equal in value to the samples submitted was an occasion of much difficulty at the New York warehouse, commencing in the month of September. The quality of the cloth used was, perhaps, up to the standard, but the goods lacked finish and were not equal in weight, while the material used for lining was inferior, and the garments were made in a slovenly and cheap manner. The inspector in charge, Mr. Dewitt C. Whiteman, passed the first delivery of clothing and also a very inferior article of cloth in the piece in fulfillment of the contract for “cadet gray “”cloth. The objections of Superintendent Robbing were unheeded and the goods were shipped. The superintendent wrote to Commissioner Jones at Washington and also informed Mr. James in New York, with whom he had an understanding that when another delivery was made he was to be notified. At the next delivery Mr. James examined the clothing, also the cloth sent to fill the contract for ” cadet gray,” all of which were found to be below standard.
Mr. James ordered that they be not accepted and that no shipment be made, and informed Commissioner Jones of what he had done, who, on coming to New York and examining for himself, approved the course taken and notified the contractor to take away the goods and furnish other goods equal to sample. He also dismissed the inspector, Whiteman, and upon his return to Washington detailed Inspector Nesler to the place of Superintendent Robbins, who was given indefinite leave of absence. As a compromise, the clothing was accepted at a later date and at a reduced price, the season being so far advanced that the garments would be needed before others could be got ready. It is said that the contracting company admits sustaining a loss of $10,000 to $12,000 upon the transaction, exclusive of the sum paid as penalty for non-fulfillment of contracts. The incident is much to be regretted because of the prejudice created in the minds of competitive bidders, there being a feeling that they were discriminated against in the first place, and that the delinquent contractor should not have been allowed to turn in the goods even at a large reduction. The contracts were fairly awarded and there is no occasion for fault finding under that head; probably there would have been less fault finding if the goods had all been rejected and fresh bids asked for, or the articles been purchased in open market. Such incidents are regrettable, although not always avoidable. Of the inspector who was dismissed it may be said that he was a weak man and unfitted for the place, if not dishonest, although his recommendations to Commissioner Jones were good.
Darwin R. James,
Chairman Board of Indian Commissioners.
New York, January 20, 1902.