Q Current GAO Officials Comptroller General of the United States Charles A. Bowsher Deputy Comptroller General of the United States Vacant Special Assistant to the Comptroller General Milton J. Socolar General Counsel James F. Hinchman Deputy General Counsel Vacant , Page i , ... Preface 111 Table of Decision Numbers iv Digests Appropriations/Financial Management 1 Civilian Personnel 3 Military Personnel 7 Miscellaneous Topics 8 Procurement 10 Page ii t This publication is one in a series of monthly pamphlets entitled “Digests of Decisions of the Comptroller General of the United States” which have been published since the establishment of the General Accounting Office by the Budget and Accounting Act, 1921. A disbursing or certifying official or the head of an agency may request a decision from the Comptroller General pursuant to 31 U.S. Code 0 3529 (formerly 31 U.S.C. $0 74 and 82d). Decisions concerning claims are issued in accordance with 31 U.S. Code $ 3702 (formerly 31 U.S.C. 6 71). Decisions on the validity of contract awards are rendered pursuant to the Competition in Contracting Act, Pub. L. 98-369, July 18, 1984. Decisions in this pamphlet are presented in digest form. When requesting individual copies of these decisions, which are available in full text, cite them by the file number and date, e.g., B-229329.2, Sept. 29, 1989. Approximately 10 percent of GAO’s decisions are published in full text as the Decisions of the Comptroller General of the United States. Copies of these decisions are available in individual copies, in monthly pamphlets and in annual volumes. Decisions in these volumes should be cited by volume, page number and year issued, e.g., 68 Comp. Gen. 644 (1989). Page iii , Table of Decision Numbers B-238703, B-238704, May 31, 1990 42 B-237005.2, May 31, 1990*** 41 B-195374.3, May 15, 1990 5 B-237082, et al., May 8, 1990 1 B-216640.8, May 16,1990*** 5 B-237122.2, May 17,199O 28 B-222413.2, May 25, 1990 36 B-237207.2, May 2, 1990 13 B-227353, May 23,1990*** 2 B-237408.2, May 18, 1990 30 B-230434.3, May 24, 1990 2 B-237415.2, May 4, 1990 14 B-232173, May 4, 1990 4 B-237434.2, May 22, 1990 32 B-233372.4, May 1, 1990*** 10 B-237486.2, May 17, 1990 29 B-233742.5, et al., May 14, B-237557.2, May 4, 1990*“* 15 1990*** 24 B-237607, May 21, 1990 5 B-234089.3, May 8, 1990 19 B-237660, May 4, 1990 4 B-234243.1, May 8, 1990 8 B-237727.2, May 31,199O 41 B-235902, May 22, 1990*** 6 B-237796, May 9,199O 7 B-236057, May 9, 1990 1 B-237800.2, May 2, 1990 13 B-236057, May 9, 1990 9 B-237836, May 2, 1990 3 B-236219, May 4, 1990 4 B-237864.2, May 31, 1990 41 B-236265.4, May 29, 1990 38 B-237865.2, B-237865.3, May 16, B-236450, May 1, 1990 11 1990 25 B-236477.3, B-236477,4, May 15, B-237873.2, May 14, 1990 24 1990 25 B-237915, May 4, 1990 1 B-236601.2, May 7, 1990 18 B-237972, May 22, 1990 6 B-236603.2, May 24, 1990 34 B-238095.2, May 8, 1990 19 B-236784.2, May 25, 1990 36 B-238169.2, May 16,199O 26 B-236790.2, May 29, 1990 38 B-238178.3, May 17, 1990 29 B-236792.5, May 31, 1990 40 B-238187, May 7, 1990 18 B-236861, May 3, 1990 3 B-238194, May 1, 1990 11 B-236922.2, May 2, 1990 12 B-238197, May 4, 1990 15 B-236929.2, May 11, 1990*** 21 B-238200.2, May 4,199O 16 ““‘lnotes published decisions) Cite published decisions as 69 Camp. Cm- , Page iv t \ Table of Decision Numbers Page Page B-238207, B-238207.2, May 1, B-238487, May 25,199O 7 1990 11 B-238492, May 11, 1990 23 B-238236, May 11, 1990 22 B-238496, May 4, 1990 17 B-238250, May 10, 1990 21 B-238505, May 30,199O 40 B-238251, May 16, 1990 26 B-238551, May 16, 1990 27 B-238259, May 4, 1990 16 B-238560, May 16, 1990 27 B-238273, B-238358, May 1,199O 12 B-238595, May 19, 1990 31 B-238276.2, May 30, 1990 40 B-238596, May 29, 1990 39 B-238281, May 1, 1990 12 B-238600, May 16, 1990 28 B-238301, May 21, 1990 32 B-238621.2, B-238622.2, May 18, B-238305. Mav 9. 1990 20 1990 31 B-238306, May 14, 1990*** 24 B-238631, May 2, 1990 14 B-238354, May 22,1990*** 33 B-238640, May 3,199O 3 B-238359, May 11, 1990 22 B-238645, May 3,199O 14 B-238366, May 11, 1990 22 B-238670, May 31, 1990 42 B-238371, May 18, 1990*** 31 B-238674, May 10, 1990 21 B-238384. Mav 4. 1990 17 B-238682, B-238682.2, May 16, B-238402, May 23, 1990 34 1990 28 B-238403, May 17, 1990* * * 30 B-238712.2, May 31,199O 43 B-238411.2, May 31, 1990 42 B-238783, May 11, 1990 23 B-238420. B-238420.2, Mav 24. B-238838, May 22, 1990 33 , ” , 1990 ’ 35 B-238943.2, May 4,199O 17 B-238423, May 29,199O 38 B-238959, May 2, 1990 8 B-238447. Mav 8.1990 19 B-239016, May 17, 1990 30 B-238452, B-238452.2, May 16, B-239136.2, May 18, 1990 32 1990 27 B-239201.1, May 8, 1990 8 B-238470, May 25, 1990 37 B-239262, May 24, 1990 35 B-238470, May 25, 1990 37 B-239330, May 22, 1990*** 33 B-238487, May 25, 1990 2 Page v , Table of Decision Numbers B-239378, May 3, 1990 14 B-239630, May 25, 1990 38 B-239598, May 17, 1990 9 B-239687, May 24, 1990 36 B-239630, May 25, 1990 37 B-239846, May 31, 1990 43 Page vi 5 U.S.C. 8 5724ataX4) (19881 5 68 Comp. Gen. 681 (1989), affirmed. 5 Page vii Appropriations/Financial Management B-237915, May 4,199O Appropriations/Financial Management Amount Availability n Augmentation H n Gifts/donations n n q Advertising The Chairman, Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, is advised that we have no legal objection to a memorandum of understanding entered into by the National Ar- chives and Records Administration (NARA) with Philip Morris Companies Inc., in connection with the bicentennial of the United States Constitution during the period of 1989-91, in view of the broad statutory authority granted NARA to solicit and accept gifts. 44 U.S.C. $9 2112(g)(l), 2305 (Supp. v 1987). B-237082, et al., May 8, 1990 Appropriations/Financial Management Accountable Officers q Disbursing officers n q Relief n n q Illegal/improper payments n 0 n n Overpayments Relief is granted Department of the Treasury disbursing official under 31 U.S.C. 5 3527 for dupli- cate check overpayments. The overpayments were not the result of bad faith or lack of reasonable care, an adequate system of procedures and controls was maintained, and diligent collection ac- tions were taken. B-236057, May 9,199O Appropriations/Financial Management Claims Against Government q Past due accounts q q Royalties q n n Interest Section Ill(b) of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982 (FOGRMA), 30 U.S.C. 3 1721(b), imposes an interest charge on any payment of oil or gas royalties made by the Secretary of the Interior which is “not paid on the [monthly] date required under section 35” of the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA). 30 U.S.C. 8 191. We believe this interest charge provision applies only to pay- ments that are subject to the monthly payment date specified in section 35. Oil or gas royalty payments from National Forest acquired lands, which the Forest Service is effectively responsible for disbursing, are required to be distributed annually, in accordance with 16 U.S.C. 0 500, and are not subject to the monthly payment requirement of section 35 of the MLA. In our view, nothing in FOGRMA changes this annual distribution date requirement for the Forest Service. Accordingly, Page 1 Digests-May 1990 , , these payments are not required to be made monthly as specified in section 35 of the MLA and are not subject to the interest charge provision of section Ill(b) of FOGRMA. B-227353, May 23, 1990”“” Appropriations/Financial Management Budget Process W Funds transfer H W General/administrative costs W W W Cost allocation Section 7(c)(2) of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974, 45 U.S.C. $231f(c)(2) (1982), provides for transferring funds between the Social Security trust funds and the Railroad Retirement Account. When computing costs for this purpose, either full costing or incremental costing may be used since administrative cost determinations are left to the discretion of Railroad Retirement Board and Secretary of Health and Human Services. B-230434.3, May 24,199O AtmromiationdFinancial Management Claims Against Government H Claim settlement n n GAO authority Appropriations/Financial Management Claims Against Goverment H Claim settlement W W Pending litigation W n n GAO review Claimant is advised that this Office will take no further action on his claim since the claims are currently the subject matter of his appeal before a court of competent jurisdiction, and if his appeal is unsuccessful, the doctrine of res judrcata would apply. There is no mandatory require- ment that the Comptroller General must settle all claims for and against the United States since the statutory language in 31 U.S.C. 9 3702(a) I 1988( states “except as provided in this chapter or another law.” B-238487, May 25, 1990 Appropriations/Financial Management Claims Against Government W Burden of proof When there is an irreconcilable dispute of fact between a government agency and a claimant, the burden is on the claimant to prove his claim. See 4 C.F.R. 5 31.7. Therefore a service member’s claim for a $150 withdrawal from an automatic teller machine which he says he never received must be denied when the Air Force record shows that the $150 was paid to him. Page 2 Digests-May 1990 . Civilian Personnel B-237836, May 2,199O Civilian Personnel Relocation H Purposes n n Determination W n q Administrative discretion This summary letter decision addresses well established rules which have been discussed in previ- ous Comptroller General decisions. To locate substantive decisions addressing this issue, refer to decisions indexed under the above listed index entry. B-236861, May 3.1990 Civilian Personnel Leaves Of Absence n Annual leave n n Forfeiture n n n Restoration This summary letter decision addresses well established rules which have been discussed in previ- ous Comptroller General decisions. To locate substantive decisions addressing this issue, refer to decisions indexed under the above listed index entry B-238640. Mav 3.1990 I “,- Civilian Personnel Travel W Bonuses H H Acceptance n n n Propriety Under GSA’s regulations and decisions of the Comptroller General, denied boarding compensation payments made by air carriers for failing to furnish seats to travelers who had tickets because of overbooking are due the government, not the travelers, when the payments result from travel on official business. The difference in treatment between these payments and payments made by air carriers to travelers voluntarily giving up their seats on overbooked airplanes (which the travelers would be allowed to keep) is explained in Elzzabeth Duphztier, 67 Comp. Gen. 328 (19881. Page 3 Digests-May 1990 B-232173, May 4, 1990 Civilian Personnel Relocation n Temporary quarters n n Actual subsistence expenses 1 q n Dependents n n n n Eligibility Husband and wife employees, who had dependent children, were separately transferred to Wash- ington, D.C., 7 months apart. Both claimed a miscellaneous expense allowance under chapter 2, part 3, of the Federal Travel Regulations, at the $700 rate for an employee with immediate family. They are both entitled to the allowance because they were transferred at different times and each transferred with a dependent child. Civilian Personnel Relocation n Temporary quarters n n Actual subsistence expenses n q n Spouses n n n n Eligibility Husband and wife employees were separately transferred to Washington, DC., 7 months apart. The husband, who was transferred first, was authorized and received temporary quarters subsist- ence expenses (T&SE) for 120 days. Upon the wife’s later transfer she was authorized and received 60 days TQSE for herself and a dependent child, but her claim for her husband’s expenses as a family member was disallowed. Since the husband and wife employees were transferred to the same location but at different times, each is separately entitled to relocation expenses as an em- ployee. Although the husband received full TQSE benefits in his own right, the wife may include him as a family member under her TQSE entitlement, B-236219, May 4,199O Civilian Personnel Travel n Bonuses n n Rebates n 4 n Acceptance n n n n Propriety A federal employee who charges official travel expenses on a personal charge card and who re- ceives a cash or credit rebate for purchases made on that card during the calendar year, is entitled to keep the entire rebate. The rebate is not directly related to official travel and, therefore, is not the property of the federal government. B-237660, May 4,199O Civilian Personnel Travel n Temporary duty n n Travel expenses n n W Reimbursement A member of the U.S. Army Reserve serving a 138 day Temporary Tour of Active Duty in the Washington, D.C. area, after responding to a request by Army Personnel for a legal officer resid- ing in that area, is not entitled to travel expenses and mileage when he declared Columbia, Mary- Page 4 Digests-May 1990 land, as his residence rather than his actual home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in order to qualify for the selection. B-195374.3, Mas 15, 1990 Civilian Personnel Relocation W Expenses n q Reimbursement q n n Eligibility n n q q Service breaks An employee, separated from an agency by reduction-in-force action, is not entitled to reimburse- ment of relocation expenses since, under 5 U.S.C. 3 5724alc) (19701, he was not reemployed within 1 year from the date of separation. Upon further review of the circumstances in Robert Garcia, B-195374, Sept. 14, 1979, we still decline to recommend this claim to the Congress as a meritorious claim under 31 U.S.C. 9 3702td)(1988). B-216640.8. Mav 16.1990”“” Civilian Personnel Compensation n Overtime q q Claims n n m Statutes of limitation On reconsideration, our prior decision denying additional overtime compensation to individual members of the International Association of Firefighters, Local F-100, is affirmed. An initial re- quest for a decision was not accompanied by a signed representation authorization or claim over the signature of the individual claimants so as to toll the B-year Barring Act, 31 U.S.C. 0 3702(b) (1982). The B-year period of limitation in 31 U.S.C. 5 3702(b) is a condition precedent to the right to have a claim considered by our Office, and our Office has no authority to waive or modify its ap- plication. B-237607, Mav 21,199O Civilian Personnel Relocation W Residence transaction expenses q n Reimbursement q n n Eligibility An employee who transferred from England to a position in the United States was issued travel orders authorizing expenses for the sale of his residence in England. The employee is not entitled to such expenses because his international transfer was not of the type for which real estate ex- penses are authorized under , and in any event the expenses allowed under that statute are limit- ed to those incurred within the United States. In addition, we decline to submit the claim to Con- gress for consideration as a meritorious claim under 31 U.S.C. 5 3702(d). Page 5 Digests-May 1990 . B-235902, May 22, 1990*** Civilian Personnel Compensation n Retroactive compensation n n Adverse personnel actions n n n Attorney fees n n n n Eligibility Although there is no authority to pay attorney fees in connection with an administrative settle- ment of a complaint of age discrimination, a federal agency may pay the full claim for attorney fees related to settlement of an employee’s age and sex discrimination complaints where the agency concedes that the employee would have prevailed in the same manner on just the sex dis- crimination complaint. B-237972, May 22,199O Civilian Personnel Relocation 1 Residence transaction expenses n n Refinancing n mmFees n n n n Reimbursement A transferred employee refinanced the mortgage on his residence at his old duty station to obtain assumable financing to make it more saleable. The agency disallowed the percentage fee paid the lender for refinancing as either a loan discount or prepayment of interest, neither of which may be reimbursed under the Joint Travel Regulations (JTRI. The charge made by the lender, however, is in the nature of a mortgage prepayment penalty which is an allowable expense under para- graph 2-6.2dtlKg) of the Federal Travel Regulations and paragraph C14002d(l), item 7, of the JTR. Therefore, payment may be made to the extent reasonable and customary and otherwise reimburs- able under those provisions. See Marshall L. Dantrler, 64 Comp. Gen. 568 (1985). Page 6 Digests-May 1990 , . Military Personnel B-237796, May 9,199O Military Personnel Pay H Pay retention H W Amounts W n W Computation While 10 U.S.C. $6330(d) in effect in 1981, authorized the crediting of part of a year that was 6 months or more as a full year for eligibility for transfer to the Fleet Reserve and for multiplier purposes in computing retainer pay, there is no authority to credit 6 months or more service as a full year for the basic pay portion of the retainer pay formula. Militarv Personnel Pay W Retirement pay W W Amount determination 4 n W Computation n n H W Effective dates The retired pay of an enlisted member of the Navy transferred to the temporary disability retired list prior to September 30, 1983, should not be recomputed on his transfer to the permanent dis- ability retired list to reflect changes in the law for crediting of service for retirement purposes when no intervening active duty occurs. B-238487, May 25,199O Militarv Personnel Pay n Deposit accounts W H Automatic teller machines When there is an irreconcilable dispute of fact between a government agency and a claimant, the burden is on the claimant to prove his claim. See 4 C.F.R. 0 31.7. Therefore a service member’s claim for a $150 withdrawal from an automatic teller machine which he says he never received must be denied when the Air Force record shows that the $150 was paid to him. Page 7 Digests-May 1990 , I Miscellaneous Topics B-238959, May 2,199O Miscellaneous Topics National Security/International Affairs W National defense interests n W Set-off H n n Reports In order to prepare the annual offset report in compliance with section 309 of the Defense Produc- tion Act of 1950, the Office of Management and Budget COMB) must use inter-agency studies cov- ering the information identified in Section 309(b)(l)(A) and (B) of the Act. 50 U.S.C. App. 8 2099(b) (Supp. V 1987). Because the Act does not specify the method by which such studies are to be con- ducted, a survey of subcontractors and nondefense industry sectors is not required, so long as the studies otherwise satisfy the requirements of the Act. B-234243.1, May 8, 1990 Miscellaneous Tonics Federal Administrative/Legislative Matters H Administrative agencies 1 H Financial management n W n Statutes H n n W Reformation Section Ill(b) of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982 (FOGRMA), 30 U.S.C. 3 1721(b), imposes an interest charge on any payment of oil or gas royalties made by the Secretary of the Interior which is “not paid on the [monthly] date required under section 35” of the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA). 30 U.S.C. 5 191. We believe this interest charge provision applies only to pay- ments that are subject to the monthly payment date specified in section 35. Oil or gas royalty payments from National Forest acquired lands, which the Forest Service is effectively responsible for disbursing, are required to be distributed annually, in accordance with 16 U.S.C. 0 500, and are not subject to the monthly payment requirement of section 35 of the MLA. In our view, nothing in FOGRMA changes this annual distribution date requirement for the Forest Service. Accordingly, these payments are not required to be made monthly as specified in section 35 of the MLA and are not subject to the interest charge provision of section 11 l(b) of FOGRMA. B-239201.1, May 8,199O Miscellaneous Tonics Federal Administrative/Legislative Matters n Government corporations n H Audits n n W GAO authority W 4 n E Statutes Informal memorandum to AFMD staff summarizes the research on whether statutes require GAO to conduct financial audits of government corporations. Page 8 Digests-May 1990 B-236057. Mav 9. 1990 Miscellaneous Topics Environment/Energy/Natural Resources E Mineral issues n n Royalties n W n Interest Section Ill(b) of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982 (FOGRMA), 30 U.S.C. 9 1721(b), imposes an interest charge on any payment of oil or gas royalties made by the Secretary of the Interior which is “not paid on the [monthly] date required under section 35” of the Mineral Leasing Act iMLA1. 30 U.S.C. $191. We believe this interest charge provision applies only to pay- ments that are subject to the monthly payment date specified in section 35 Oil or gas royalty payments from National Forest acquired lands, which the Forest Service is effectively responsible for disbursing, are required to be distributed annually, in accordance with 16 U.S.C $500, and are not subject to the monthly payment requirement of section 35 of the MLA. In our view, nothing in FOGRMA changes this annual distribution date requirement for the Forest Service. Accordingly, these payments are not required to be made monthly as specified in section 35 of the MLA and are not subject to the interest charge provision of section Ill(b) of FOGRMA. B-239598, Mas 17, 1990 Miscellaneous Topics Human Resources n Health care n n Communicable diseases W n W Administrative determination Provision in supplemental appropriations act directing the President to exclude HIV-infected aliens from admission to the United States was not permanent legislation in view of the absence of words of futurity, the fact that its purpose could be and was achieved during the effective period of the act, and the legislative history of the section. Section 518, Pub. L. No. 100-71. Miscellaneous Topics Human Resources n Health care n n Communicable diseases W n W Administrative determination Miscellaneous Topics National Security/International Affairs n Immigration/naturalization n E Restrictions q n n Communicable diseases Because the President retains discretion to continue to exclude HIV-infected aliens from the United States, if Congress now believes that HIV infection should not constitute a basis for inad- missibility of aliens, legislation may be required to effect that change. Page 9 Digests-May 1990 Procurement B-233372.4. Mav 1.1990”“” 90-l CPD 436 Procurement Bid Protests H GAO procedures n n Preparation costs Claim for bid protest costs incurred for working on a companion protest and in pursuit of a cost claim, and for contacting a congressional representative, are disallowed since they are unrelated to the pursuit of the protest. Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n Preparation costs Claim for a general and administrative expense factor to be applied to protester’s direct expenses is disallowed in the absence of a sufficient explanation of the basis for that factor. Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures W W Preparation costs W n n Attorney fees n n n n Amount determination Agency’s general objections to the allegedly “excessive” number of hours claimed by the protester as spent by its attorneys and employees in pursuit of its protest provide an insufficient basis for concluding that the attendant costs are not reasonable where the hours are properly documented and certified. Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n Preparation costs n n n Profits Claim for profits on protester’s labor costs is disallowed since there is no statutory basis to award profits as part of the costs for pursuing a bid protest. Page 10 Digests-May 1990 . B-236450, May 1,199O Procurement Payment/Discharge n Unauthorized contracts n n Quantum meruit/valebant doctrine Where contracting agency reproduced in its own solicitation specifications drafted by the claimant without that firm’s prior approval, claimant is entitled, on a quantum v&bunt basis, to the rea- sonable value of those services to the government. B-238194, May 1,199O 90-l CPD 437 Procurement Sealed Bidding n Bids q n Responsiveness n W n Terms n q n m Deviation Bid for printing services is nonresponsive to invitation for bids requirement that bidder certify intent to supply paper containing waste paper content (WPC) of at least 50 percent. Bidder insert- ed “.50” under column entitled “Offeror’s Percentage” of WPC; therefore, bid must be interpreted as one-half of 1 percent for WPC or 49.5 percent less than that required. B-238207, B-238207.2, May 1,199O 90-l CPD 438 Procurement Competitive Negotiation II Best/final offers W n Submission q W q Timeliness Where awardee’s best and final offer (BAFO) is sent by facsimile transmission (FAX) 4 days prior to the closing date for BAFOs, but FAX is not time/date stamped by the contracting agency upon receipt, protest that agency failed to provide evidence of timely receipt is denied where protester does not contest that FAX was sent 4 days prior to the BAFO deadline, as indicated on the FAX copy, and the agency’s receiving employee attests that the FAX was timely received. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Contract awards n q Propriety Where, after submission of best and final offers, contracting agency reduces its need for an item by one-half and awards a contract based on an evaluation of only one rather than two lots of the item as specified in the solicitation, agency did not improperly award the contract without amend- ing the solicitation to reflect the reduced requirement because offerors were on notice that they were competing for only one contract for one-half of the requirement if a split award were made, and therefore were not prejudiced by the change. Page 11 Digests-May 1990 B-238273, B-238358, May 1, 1990 90-l CPD 439 ’ Procurement Contractor Qualification n Licenses n n State/local laws n n n GAO review The necessity for a business license in a particular state or locality is generally a matter between the contractor and the issuing authority (although it can be considered in making a determination of responsibility) and will not be a bar to a contract award, absent a specific licensing requirement in the procurement solicitation. Procurement Small Purchase Method n Quotations n n Submission time periods Under the simplified procedures for small purchases, quotations beyond these initially received may generally be solicited and accepted by the government at any time prior to acceptance of any quote. B-238281, May 1, 1990 90-l CPD 440 Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Offers n q Evaluation errors n n n Evaluation criteria n n n n Application Protest that agency failed to evaluate offers consistently with solicitation’s evaluation scheme is denied where protester’s interpretation of applicable solicitation language is unreasonable. B-236922.2, May 2,199O 90-l CPD 441 Procurement Noncompetitive Negotiation n Contract awards n n Sole sources n n n Propriety Although the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 mandates that agencies obtain “full and open competition” in their procurements through the use of competitive procedures, the proposed sole-source award of a contract under the authority of 10 USC. 9 2304(cKll (1988) is not objection- able where the agency reasonably determined that only one source could supply the desired non- developmental item within the time constraints of the procurement, and the protester’s offered product reasonably was not found compliant with the agency’s requirements, Page 12 Digests-May 1990 B-237207.2, May 2,199O 90-l CPD 442 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n GAO decisions W n q Reconsideration Request for reconsideration based on a protest allegation not considered in prior decision is denied where the allegation was untimely because the protester knew or should have known of this basis of protest no later than the time it filed its original protest. but failed to raise the matter until it filed its comments to the agency report, more than 10 working days after the date the basis of protest was known or should have been known. B-237800.2, May 2,199O 90-l CPD 443 Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Contract awards n n Administrative discretion W n n Cost/technical tradeoffs n W n m Technical superiority Award to the highest rated and highest priced offeror, instead of to the low-priced offeror, is unob- jectionable where the awardee had the best price/quality point ratio. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Discussion n n Adequacy n q n Criteria Although contracting agency did not point out all identified deficiencies in the protester’s proposal during discussions, the protester was not materially prejudiced so as to justify sustaining its pro- test, where, even assuming the protester’s proposal received the maximum total score in the af- fected technical areas, it still would not be competitive with the awardee’s proposal. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Discussion n W Misleading information n n n Allegation substantiation Agency did not mislead protester during discussions in stressing the importance of price where price accounts for 50 percent of the specified evaluation weight. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Offers n n Evaluation n n n Technical acceptability Protest is denied where the protester was given a complete debriefing by the agency and addition- al evaluation documentation by the General Accounting Office (GAO) pursuant to its request for documents under section 213tfl of GAO Bid Protest Regulations, 4 C.F.R. 3 21.3(f) (1989). and only Page 13 Digests-May 1990 specifically contests the evaluation of certain subcriteria, the total value of which would not make the protester competitive with the awardee even if it received a perfect score for these items. B-238631, May 2, 1990 90-l CPD 444 Procurement Sealed Bidding n Bids n n Expiration n n n Reinstatement n q n q Propriety Bidder may be allowed to revive its bid and extend its bid acceptance period after the bid has expired where the bidder originally offered the minimum acceptance period requested by the agency and where revival of the bid would not compromise the integrity of the bidding system. B-238645, May 3, 1990 90-l CPD 445 Procurement Bid Protests m Fraud n n Investigation n n q Administrative proceedings Protest is dismissed where contracting agency has referred the matter of the disclosure of the pro- tester’s proposal to a competitor to the Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for investiga- tion. The protester may reinstate its protest with the General Accounting Office after receipt of the results of the CID’s report. B-239378, May 3, 1990 90-l CPD 446 Procurement Bid Protests W Private disputes n n GAO review The General Accounting Office will not consider a protest that is based on what is essentially a dispute between private parties. B-237415.2, May 4, 1990 90-l CPD 447 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO authority Determinations of law in decisions issued by the General Accounting Office in resolving bid pro- tests will generally be followed unless overruled by a subsequent decision, statute or regulation. Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n GAO decisions n n n Reconsideration Arguments considered and rejected by the General Accounting Office in denying original protest will not support request for reconsideration, Page 14 Digests-May 1990 . B-237557.2, May 4,1990*** 90-l CPD 448 Procurement Special Procurement Methods/Categories n Federal supply schedule n n Terms W n q Purchase orders n H n 0 Quantity restrictions Only reasonable reading of a Federal Supply Schedule contract is that an overall maximum order limitation (MOL) on any order is to apply to all the items listed on that contract, including those which do not have specific MOLs. Since the order for the lease of equipment exceeded the overall MOL, the General Accounting Office recommends that it be terminated. B-238197, May 4,199O 90-l CPD 449 Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Oral solicitation B n Cancellation n n n Resolicitation n n E q Propriety Procurement Competitive Negotiation H Requests for proposals n W Evaluation criteria n H 6 Cost/technical tradeoffs n H w 0 Weighting Evaluation method which subordinates price to technical considerations is not per se defective be- cause price is not weighted or scored with other factors. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Requests for proposals E n Evaluation criteria n n W Sufficiency Where initial oral solicitation was properly canceled because among other things it provided no common basis for evaluating offers, agency is not later precluded from conducting a separate com- petitively negotiated procurement in which price is subordinated to technical considerations, even though price may have been a more significant evaluation factor during the initial competition. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Use n H Criteria Agency seeking to obtain creative contractor-provided advertising services to publicly market real property acted reasonably in subordinating price to technical merit by using competitive negotia- tion format in lieu of sealed bidding procedures. Digests-May 1990 B-238200.2, May 4, 1990 90-l CPD 450 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n W Protest timeliness n n H lo-day rule Protest to the General Accounting Office of a December 1987 award to another offeror on the basis that the firm was not qualified is dismissed as untimely because the protest was filed more than 10 working days after basis of protest was known or should have been known, and is not for con- sideration under the “good cause” or “significant issue” exceptions to the timeliness rules. Procurement Contract Management I Contract administration n W Contract terms n n n Modification n W n n Propriety Protest of modification to another offeror’s contract made 9 months after award which deleted a requirement that had been in the solicitation will not be considered by the General Accounting Office because modification involves matter of contract administration and it does not appear that the contract was awarded with the intent to modify it or that the modification is beyond the scope of the original contract. B-238259. Mav 4. 1990 90-l CPD 451 Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Contract awards n H Administrative discretion n n W Cost/technical tradeoffs n H n n Technical superiority Agency may properly select for award a more highly rated, higher-priced proposal despite the fact that solicitation provides for price to be the most important evaluation factor, where it determines that technical superiority of higher-priced proposal is worth the additional cost. Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Discussion W n Adequacy n H W Criteria Where solicitation asks offerors to respond to several sample tasks for the purpose of testing their understanding of the technical requirements of the contemplated contract, agency is not required to spell out for the protester during discussions all weaknesses in its responses to the tasks since the purpose of the sample tasks is to see if the offeror can identify and resolve technical issues itself. Page 16 Digests-May 1990 c P rocurement Contract Types W Fixed-price contracts W W Price determination n W n Cost i n c r e a s e W n W n Risk allocation W h e r e a fixed-price contract is to b e awarded, adjustment of proposals for price realism during evaluation for p u r p o s e s other than to assess the risk in a n offeror’s a p p r o a c h is inappropriate since a fixed-price contract is not subject to adjustment b a s e d o n the contractor’s cost experience during performance. B - 2 3 8 3 8 4 ,M a y 4 ,1 9 9 O 90-l C P D 4 5 2 P rocurement B i d Protests n G A O procedures n W Interested parties n W n Direct interest s t a n d a r d s G e n e r a l Accounting O ffice d o e s not consider protest issues which a r e essentially m a d e o n behalf of other potential competitors w h o themselves m a y properly protest as interested parties. P rocurement Specifications n Minimum needs standards n n Competitive restrictions W W W Justification n W n n Sufficiency Solicitation’s specifications a r e not u n d u l y restrictive of competition w h e r e the procuring a g e n c y establishes that requirements for certain film a n d automatic processing features represent a g e n - cy’s m i n i m u m n e e d s a n d protester, though disagreeing with a g e n c y ’s analysis, fails to s h o w that the restriction is clearly unreasonable. B - 2 3 8 4 9 6 , M a y 4 ,1 9 9 O 90-l C P D 4 5 3 P rocurement Sealed Bidding n Bids n W E r r o r correction n W W Pricing errors n H H H L i n e items A g e n c y properly refused to permit protester to correct a n alleged mistake in its bid w h e r e the correction w o u l d b e a recalculation of the bid after bid o p e n i n g to include a n item not originally considered. Page 17 Digests-May 1990 , B-238943.2, May 4,199O 90-l CPD 454 Procurement Sealed Bidding H Invitations for bids n W Cancellation n I n Justification n n W q Funding restrictions Contracting agency has a compelling reason to cancel a solicitation after bid opening where it de- termines that sufficient funds are not available to make award. B-236601.2, May 7, 1990 90-l CPD 455 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n GAO decisions n n W Reconsideration Request for reconsideration is denied where the protester fails to show any error of fact or law that would warrant reversal or modification of prior decision, but essentially reiterates arguments considered in the initial decision. Procurement Bid Protests H GAO procedures H W Protest timeliness n n n lo-day rule General Accounting Office will not consider a request for reconsideration on the basis of the pro- tester’s subsequent provision of facts and information which were available to the protester, but which it failed to present at the time the protest was considered by our Office, particularly since the new information indicates that the protest was untimely when originally filed. B-238187, May 7,199O 90-l CPD 456 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n 4 Protest timeliness n W W Significant issued exemptions n H n W Applicability While timeliness of protest issue concerning evaluation of electric rates is unclear, it will be con- sidered as a significant issue because it is one not previously decided and which may arise in future procurements for electric service. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Offers n W Evaluation errors n W 4 Prices Cost evaluation of proposal for electric service for lo-year period did not result in a reasonably accurate prediction of the actual cost of the service where the agency’s calculations were based on Page 18 Digests-May 1990 I . L a January start date rather than the August start date listed in the solicitation and under the offered rate scheme, annualized results based on a January start date differ from those based on an August start date. Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Offers n W Prices n 0 W Rate schedules n n H H Utility services Where offeror’s proposal for electric service contains two rate schedules, one of which is unaccept- able, but the unacceptable rate was not considered by agency in its cost evaluation and award selection and its inclusion in the resulting contract would have no impact on the services offered under the acceptable rate, the proposal may be accepted. B-234089.3, May 8,199O 90-l CPD 457 Procurement Bid Protests W GAO decisions W H Recommendations W W H Modification Agency request that General Accounting Office modify corrective action recommended in original decision is denied where request does not include any support for assertion that recommended re- solicitation would result in a delay of 300 days and significant cost to agency and firms that sub- mitted proposals under original solicitation. B-238095.2, May 8, 1990 90-l CPD 458 Procurement Bid Protests W GAO procedures 6 W GAO decisions W W n Reconsideration Request for reconsideration is denied where based on information that could have been but was not presented during consideration of original protest. B-238447. Mav 8.1990 90-l CPD 459 Procurement Bid Protests W Moot allegation H n GAO review Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Contract awards W n Errors H H n Corrective actions H n n W Moot allegation Protest that an award was made under a request for proposals to an offeror whose proposal did not meet the specifications of the solicitation is dismissed as academic when the agency deter- Page 19 Digests-May 1990 mines that the solicitation was defective and the award improper and takes the appropriate car- * rective action. B-238305, May 9, 1990 90-l CPD 460 Procurement Competitive Negotiation H Contract awards H W Administrative discretion n 4 n Cost/technical tradeoffs 1 W W H Technical superiority Agency reasonably awarded a negotiated contract for travel services on the basis of initial propos- als to the highest technically rated offeror, proposing the most advantageous combination of re- bates, discounts, and price initiatives, where the solicitation informed offerors of that possibility and no discussions were conducted with any offeror. Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Discussion H n Determination criteria Agency’s communications with offeror concerning required small and disadvantaged business sub- contracting plan relate to offeror’s responsibility and do not constitute discussions or require that revised proposals be solicited from all offerors. Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Offers n n Evaluation I n I Technical acceptability Agency reasonably found protester’s offer to contain deficiencies with regard to aspects of its orga- nizational, staffing, quality control, and automation plans, as well as personnel qualifications. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Technical evaluation boards H W Bias allegation n q H Allegation substantiation H W n H Evidence sufficiency Protest alleging bias must present convincing evidence to support its claims, since procurement officials are presumed to act in good faith. Page 20 Digests-May 1990 B-238250, May lo,1990 90-l CPD 461 Procurement Government Property Sales H Timber sales W W Bids H W R Certification Procurement Sealed Bidding n Bids n q Responsiveness W W H Certification H W W W Omission The agency properly rejected the high bid in a sealed-bid timber sale, where the high bidder failed to include with its sealed bid a Certificate of Small Business Status, which contained a contract performance requirement that certain contract work be accomplished with the bidder’s own em- ployees. B-238674, May 10, 1990 90-l CPD 462 Procurement Contractor Qualification H Responsibility n q Contracting officer findings W 4 n Negative determination n H n n GAO review Protest that agency’s nonresponsibility determination and subsequent refusal of the Small Busi- ness Administration to issue a certificate of competency was erroneous in light of new information submitted by the protester is denied where record does not show that any new information was presented. Procurement Socio-Economic Policies W Small businesses n q Competency certification II W W Bad faith W H W n Allegation substantiation Protest that Small Business Administration’s (SBAI denial of certificate of competency was based on incorrect information provided by agency is denied where record indicates that information considered by the contracting officer and forwarded to SBA was accurate. B-236929.2, May 11, 1990”“” 90-l CPD 463 Procurement Sealed Bidding H Bids n W Responsiveness n n W Price omission n E W W Line items The protester’s deletion of one subline item in its low bid on a sealed-bid procurement should be waived as a minor informality where the deleted bid requirement was not material or an essential Page 21 Digests-May 1990 or integral part of the overall contract work and where the waiver of the requirement would not affect the relative competitive standing of the bidders. B-238236. Mav 11. 1990 90-l CPD 464 Procurement Sealed Bidding n Bids n n Responsiveness W n n Signatures n n n n Omission A bidder’s failure to sign its bid may be waived as a minor informality when the bid is accompa- nied by a document bearing the bidder’s signature, since the signature demonstrates the bidder’s intent to be bound by its bid. B-238359, Mav 11. 1990 90-l CPD 465 Procurement Competitive Negotiation q Competitive advantage n n Non-prejudicial allegation Protest against determination by agency not to make inspection equipment located in mobilization base contractor’s facility available to other offerors but instead to apply rental evaluation factor is denied as application of rental evaluation factor is proper to equalize competitive advantage and retention of equipment to support other mobilization based contracts was reasonable. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Offers n n Evaluation n n n Industrial mobilization bases n n n n Equipment Allegation by protester who did not submit a proposal that awardee’s price is unreasonable is dis- missed because protester is not an interested party to raise that allegation. B-238366, May 11.1990 90-l CPD 466 Procurement Noncompetitive Negotiation n Sole sources q n Justification n n n Foreign/international tribunals n n n n Cooperative agreements Where an international organization, comprised of 11 nations including the United States, speci- ties that supplies and services be purchased from a particular firm, the Navy may properly specify that firm when purchasing the supplies and services on behalf of the international organization. Page 22 Digests-May 1990 . Procurement Noncompetitive Negotiation n Sole sources n n Justification q q H International organizations q q n q Cooperative agreements A justification and approval for a noncompetitive award that states that a market survey was not conducted because a “directed source” was designated pursuant to an international agreement adequately states why the market survey was not conducted. B-238492, Mas 11, 1990 90-l CPD 467 Procurement Competitive Negotiation q Requests for proposals q q Cancellation q n n Justification n q PI W Funding restrictions Notwithstanding the validity of the government estimate or the contracting agency’s determina- tion that all bid prices were unreasonably high, agency’s cancellation of solicitation after bid open- ing is proper where sufficient funds are not available to make award to the low responsive bidder. Procurement Socio-Economic Policies n Small business 8(a) subcontracting n n Contract awards q n n Propriety Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations prohibiting acceptance of contract into section 8(a) program where competitive solicitation for the requirement has already been issued as a small business set-aside, or where SBA finds that doing so would adversely affect other small businesses, do not prohibit setting aside contract under the 8(a) program where: (1) solicitation originally was issued as a small disadvantaged business set-aside, not a regular small business set-aside, and later was converted to an unrestricted procurement; and (2) SBA has made no finding that acceptance of the contract into the 8(a) program would adversely affect other small businesses. B-238783, May 11, 1990 90-l CPD 468 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n q Interested parties n n q Suspended/debarred contractors Suspended offeror is not an “interested party” under General Accounting Office’s Bid Protest Reg- ulations because a suspended offeror is not eligible for award. Page 23 Digests-May 1990 B-233742.5, et al., May 14, 1990”“” 90-l CPD 469 - Procurement Bid Protests n GAO decisions n n Recommendation affirmation Recommendation to reopen negotiations under revised specifications is affirmed notwithstanding potential for additional cost to the government where any such cost would be due in large measure to the agency having placed a substantial order under the contract after the protest conference, at which the awardee’s compliance with the specifications was in issue, and only 1 month prior to the due date for the General Accounting Office’s decision. Procurement Bid Protests W GAO procedures n n GAO decisions n n n Reconsideration Decision finding that awardee’s proposal was noncompliant with solicitation requirements, and recommending that negotiations be reopened under revised specifications, is affirmed where recon- sideration request is based on mere disagreement with prior decision or arguments that could have been, but were not, raised during consideration of protest, and record does not otherwise show error of fact or law warranting reversal or modification of decision. B-237873.2, May 14,199O 90-l CPD 470 Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Contract awards n n Administrative discretion n n n Cost/technical tradeoffs n n n n Technical superiority Decision to award to higher-priced, higher technically rated offeror was proper where the solicita- tion award criteria made technical considerations more important than price and the agency rea- sonably concluded that the awardee’s higher total point score resulting from its technical superior- ity established that its proposal was worth the price premium. B-238306, May 14,1990*** 90-l CPD 471 Procurement Special Procurement Methods/Categories n Federal supply schedule W n Offers n n n Rejection n n n n Propriety Under multiple-award Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) solicitation, where agency determined that protester offered required most favored customer pricing-prices equal to or lower than offeror’s lowest commercial prices-for certain percentage of large number of items and solicitation provid- ed for possible award on a product-by-product basis, outright rejection of proposal for unreasonable pricing was improper; agency should have given protester opportunity through discussions to es- tablish which items were priced acceptably, requested best and final offer, and included protester on FSS for all properly priced items. Page 24 Digests-May 1990 B-236477.3, B-236477.4, May 15, 1990 90-l CPD 472 Procurement Bid Protests W GAO procedures H W GAO decisions H n H Reconsideration Decision sustaining protest that agency’s failure to provide preaward notice of proposed award under small business set-aside resulted in improper circumvention of size status protest proce- dures, to the prejudice of the protester, is affirmed, where requests for reconsideration fail to specify errors of fact or law in original decision. Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures W H GAO decisions H W W Reconsideration Arguments that agency could have presented, but did not present, during consideration of protest are not basis for reconsidering decision. Procurement Bid Protests W GAO procedures n n GAO decisions W W W Reconsideration Procurement Bid Protests W GAO procedures n W Interested parties Where interested party was aware of protest but did not actively participate in process by present- ing or responding to arguments, party is not eligible to request reconsideration of decision on pro- test. B-237865.2, B-237865.3, May 16,199O 90-l CPD 473 Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Offers H n Evaluation n n H Personnel experience Corporate experience requirement in solicitation was an evaluation factor, not a definitive respon- sibility criterion, because consideration for award was not contingent upon offeror’s showing of 5 years of experience, rather, the quality of such experience was to be evaluated as to its acceptabil- ity. Page 25 Digests-May 1990 r P rocurement Competitive Negotiation n O ffers W W Evaluation W W n Personnel experience A g e n c y ’s consideration of a subcontractor’s experience u n d e r the relevant evaluation factor w a s p r o p e r w h e r e solicitation did not prohibit u s e of subcontractors to perform the contract, or u s e of subcontractor to satisfy experience requirement. P rocurement Competitive Negotiation E R e q u e s t s for p r o p o s a l s W H Terms n H H Subcontractors Sslicitation provision barring subcontracting without written permission of contracting officer by its terms applies only to additional subcontracting p r o p o s e d after a w a r d a n d therefore did not pro- hibit offerors from p r o p o s i n g the u s e of subcontractors in initial proposals. B - 2 3 8 1 6 9 .2 ,M a y 1 6 ,1 9 9 O 90-l C P D 4 7 4 P rocurement Sealed Bidding W Invitations for bids W n Post-bid o p e n i n g cancellation W W W Justification n W W E Sufficiency Protest that a g e n c y acted in b a d faith in canceling solicitation is d e n i e d w h e r e protester asserts, but there is n o evidence showing, that the a g e n c y only canceled the solicitation to r e n d e r original protest challenging rejection of bid a c a d e m i c and, thus, to prevent G e n e r a l Accounting O ffice from issuing a decision. P rocurement Sealed Bidding E Invitations for bids n n Post-bid o p e n i n g cancellation W W n Resolicitation Contracting officer properly canceled invitation for bids after bid o p e n i n g a n d resolicited o n the basis of revised specifications w h e r e original specifications overstated the g o v e r n m e n t ’s m i n i m u m n e e d s in s o m e respects and, in others, failed to include certain requirements the a g e n c y d e e m s material a n d necessary to m e e t its needs. B - 2 3 8 2 5 1 , M a y 1 6 ,1 9 9 O 90-l C P D 4 7 5 P rocurement Contractor Qualification W Licenses Protest that at tim e of award, a w a r d e e did not h a v e Nuclear Regulatory C o m m i s s i o n licenses re- quired by solicitation is sustained w h e r e record indicates that contracting a g e n c y did not review whether a w a r d e e h a d the appropriate licenses but simply relied o n a g e n c y responsible for quali- fied parts list ( Q P L ) to verify possession of licenses a n d the record d o e s not indicate that Q P L a u - thority reviewed whether a w a r d e e h a d licenses called for by solicitation. Page 26 Digests-May 1990 . B-238452, B-238452.2, May 16, 1990 90-l CPD 476 Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Contract awards q H Propriety Award to offeror whose proposal in negotiated procurement failed to conform to material specifica- tion requirement concerning computer source code was improper where waiver of requirement re- sulted in competitive prejudice. B-238551. Mav 16. 1990 90-l CPD 477 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n W Protest timeliness II E W Apparent solicitation improprieties Objection to agency’s use of small purchase procedures and allegations that agency may have mis- described its minimum needs and provided inadequate packaging instructions are dismissed as un- timely where not raised until protester’s comments on the agency report, well after the due date for receipt of quotations. Procurement Small Purchase Method q Requests for quotations E W Terms q H q Design specifications Agency is not required to use federal specifications included in General Services Administration Index of Federal Specifications, Standards and Commercial Item Descriptions where procurement is conducted under Federal Acquisition Regulation small purchase procedures, which is specitical- ly excepted from this requirement. B-238560, May 16,199O 90-l CPD 478 Procurement Special Procurement Methods/Categories H Off-schedule purchases W W Propriety Where contracting agency is not a mandatory user of General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedules, the agency may properly purchase items on the “open market” when the con- tracting agency determines that it would be in the government’s best interest in terms of quality, responsiveness, or costs. Procurement Specifications S Brand name/equal specifications q E Equivalent products W 4 H Acceptance criteria Protest that awardee’s high-density movable shelving system fails to meet certain characteristics of brand name product in a “brand name or equal” procurement is denied where the protested characteristics were not included in the specifications and contracting agency determined that the awardee’s product was equal to the brand name product. Page 27 Digests-May 1990 . B-238600, May 16, 1990 90-l CPD 479 Procurement Sealed Bidding 4 Bids W W Responsiveness n W n Terms W W q W Deviation Protester’s bid was properly rejected as nonresponsive where protester took exception in its bid to a material solicitation requirement that paper products to be furnished contain a minimum of 50 percent waste paper. Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures H n Protest timeliness W W H Apparent solicitation improprieties Protest alleging specification impropriety apparent on the face of the solicitation, that minimum waste paper content requirement for paper product being purchased is ambiguous, is untimely when not filed prior to bid opening. B-238682, B-238682.2, May 16,1990*** 90-l CPD 480 Procurement Special Procurement Methods/Categories W Federal supply schedule WHIJse W n n Propriety Contracting agency may acquire items under a Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract where inci- dental, non-FSS items are also being acquired in the same procurement so long as the acquisition is made at the lowest aggregate price and the cost of the non-FSS items is insignificant compared to the total cost of the procurement. Where agency solicits a fully integrated system, a significant portion of which is not available under FSS, agency cannot reasonably conclude that items to be acquired are FSS items and, therefore, agency is required to procure entire system on open market. B-237122.2, May 17,199O 90-l CPD 481 Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Discussion n W Determination criteria Agency engaged in discussions with offeror where correspondence between the parties resulted in significant revisions to firm’s initially offered price. Fact that agency was motivated initially to correspond with firm because of suspected mistake was immaterial where ultimately the commu- nications resulted in price revisions which were not based on errors in calculations, but rather an error in judgment. Page 28 Digests-May 1990 . . Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Discussion reopening W W Propriety H n W Best/final offers n n n n Corrective actions Despite disclosure of competitors’ prices, agency decision to hold discussions and request best and final offers to remedy improper discussions held after initial offers were submitted is not objection- able. Risk of possible auction is secondary to the need to preserve the integrity of the competitive procurement system, and agency has significantly changed requirements which lessens potential for auction. B-237486.2, May 17, 1990 90-l CPD 482 Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Discussion q H Offers n W W Clarification n n W W Propriety Prior decision sustaining protest on basis that the agency improperly reopened negotiations with one offeror without providing the same opportunity to the other offeror in the competitive range is affirmed where the agency request for reconsideration misconstrues our decision rationale, and does not establish any factual or legal errors in the prior decision. Procurement Bid Protests H GAO procedures n E GAO decisions E n n Reconsideration Prior decision sustaining protest on basis that the agency improperly reopened negotiations with one offeror without providing the same opportunity to the other offeror in the competitive range is affirmed where the agency request for reconsideration misconstrues our decision rationale, and does not establish any factual or legal errors in the prior decision. B-238178.3. Mav 17.1990 90-l CPD 483 Procurement Bid Protests W GAO procedures n W Protest timeliness W W W Significant issue exemptions q W H n Applicability Significant issue exception to the General Accounting Office’s timeliness requirements will be in- voked only where the protest involves a matter which has not been considered on the merits in previous decisions and which is of widespread interest to the procurement community Page 29 Digests-May 1990 l P rocurement B i d Protests W G A O procedures W q Protest timeliness n n n lo-day rule Protester’s lack of actual k n o w l e d g e of G e n e r a l Accounting O ffice’s B i d Protest Regulations is not a defense to dismissal of its protest as untimely since protesters a r e o n constructive notice of the Regulations, as they a r e published in the Federal Register a n d C o d e of Federal Regulations. B - 2 3 8 4 0 3 , M a y 1 7 ,1990*** 90-l C P D 4 8 4 P rocurement Competitive Negotiation W O ffers W n Cost realism n H n Evaluation W W II n Administrative discretion A g e n c y m a y rely o n the r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s of the Defense Contract Audit A g e n c y concerning direct labor a n d indirect cost rates in analyzing cost proposals. P rocurement Competitive Negotiation W O ffers W W Evaluation W n H Personnel A g e n c y d o e s not h a v e a duty to verify the availability of prospective e m p l o y e e s p r o p o s e d by a n offeror for w h o m offeror h a s submitted letters of commitment. B - 2 3 9 0 1 6 , M a y 1 7 ,1 9 9 O 90-l C P D 4 8 5 P rocurement Sealed Bidding n Invitations for bids H H Cancellation H n n Justification Contracting a g e n c y properly canceled solicitation w h e r e the solicitation failed to state that the item b e i n g p r o c u r e d w a s subject to a qualification requirement a n d the a g e n c y did not provide bidders with a r e a s o n a b l e opportunity to demonstrate the acceptability of their products prior to bid opening. B - 2 3 7 4 0 8 .2 ,M a y 1 8 ,1 9 9 O P rocurement B i d Protests I G A O procedures n n G A O decisions n n n Reconsideration Letter r e s p o n d i n g to reconsideration request explains that request d o e s not include statement of factual or legal g r o u n d s warranting reversal or modification of decision as required by B i d Protest Regulations but only raises a n u m b e r of procedural matters which did not prejudice the protester. P a g e 30 Digests-May 1990 . Letter also explains that General Accounting Office nonetheless carefully reexamined the record and concluded that decision was correct. B-238371, May 18, 1990*** 90-l CPD 486 Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Competitive advantage n n Conflicts of interest q n q Allegation substantiation n n q n Lacking Protest that awardee is ineligible for a contract because of a conflict of interest arising from its relationship with a company which could possibly be subject to audit services required under present contract is denied where agency reasonably determines that no actual conflict exists and where agency’s proper administration of task orders issued under contract would provide adequate safeguards to prevent the contractor from possibly conducting a biased audit. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Offers n B Evaluation n n n Personnel experience Protest that awardee’s proposed labor mix does not meet solicitation personnel education and ex- perience requirements, and therefore agency’s evaluation of awardee’s proposal was unreasonable, is denied where record shows that proposed labor mix met the solicitation staff requirements. B-238595, May 18,199O 90-l CPD 487 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures q n Protest timeliness n q q lo-day rule Protest is dismissed as untimely where protest was filed almost 7 months after protester received notice of award; protester has not met its obligation of diligently pursuing the basis of its protest. B-238621.2, B-238622.2, May 18, 1990 90-l CPD 488 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n GAO decisions n n n Reconsideration Dismissal of bid protest will not be reconsidered where protester does not specify any error of fact or law that would warrant reversal or modification. Page 31 Digests-May 1990 B-239136.2, May l&l990 90-l CPD 489 Procurement Bid Protests W GAO procedures n W GAO decisions n W H Reconsideration Request for reconsideration of dismissal of protest challenging acceptability of competitor’s bid is denied where the competitor’s failure to complete representation concerning its number of employ- ees did not eliminate or reduce its obligation to perform services in conformity with all material terms and conditions of the solicitation. B-238301, May 21,199O 90-l CPD 490 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures H n Protest timeliness n H W lo-day rule Where Commerce Business Daily (CBD) notice announcing agency’s plan to make a sole-source award gives other potential sources an opportunity to submit expressions of interest showing their capability to perform, potential offeror must, as a prerequisite to filing a protest challenging the sole-source decision, submit a timely expression of interest in response to the CBD notice. Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n N Protest timeliness n n n Significant issue exemptions H n W n Applicability General Accounting Office (GAO) will not consider the merits of an untimely protest by invoking the significant issue exception in GAO’s Bid Protest Regulations, where the protest does not raise an issue of first impression that would be of widespread interest to the procurement community. B-237434.2, May 22,199O 90-l CPD 491 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n GAO decisions H H n Reconsideration Decision finding that procuring court reporting services for interim period under an existing con- tract constituted improper sole-source award-because new services were not within the scope of the contract as originally awarded and agency was aware incumbent contractor for services was interested in competing-is affirmed where reconsideration is based on arguments that could have been, but were not raised during consideration of protest, and record does not otherwise show error of fact or law warranting reversal or modification of decision. Page 32 Digests-May 1990 . B-238354, May 22, 1990*** 90-l CPD 492 Procurement Competitive Negotiation W Offers q H Evaluation errors E 0 8 Personnel experience E n q q Point ratings Agency’s use of a rating plan that resulted in the assignment of zero points for a labor category in the evaluation of protester’s best and final offer, on the ground that 3 of 11 resumes submitted for the category were unacceptable, was an improper material departure from the evaluation plan set forth in the solicitation; the plan stated there, and used by the agency in evaluating initial propos- als provided for a composite score based on the scores of all resumes submitted, regardless of whether any particular resume was found unacceptable. B-235838, May 22,199O 90-l CPD 493 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures q q Interested parties Protester who did not submit an offer under a solicitation and argues that it could not do so is not an interested party to complain about an awardee’s price submitted in response to the solicitation. Procurement Bid Protests E GAO procedures H H Protest timeliness II n q Apparent solicitation improprieties Protest that contracts awarded under the terms contained in a solicitation will unfairly deprive protester of orders under its own Federal Supply Schedule contract is untimely where it was not filed prior to the time set for the receipt of offers under the solicitation. B-239330, May 22, 1990*** 90-l CPD 494 Procurement Socio-Economic Policies n Small businesses n W Contract award notification n H n Notification procedures W W n n Pre-award periods Procurement Socio-Economic Policies n Small businesses W n Contract awards H n n Size status W W H n Misrepresentation Protest is sustained where agency, without notice to unsuccessful offerors, awarded a contract under a small business set-aside to a firm ultimately determined by the Small Business Adminis- tration to be other than small, based on agency’s desire to make immediate award in order to Page 33 Digests-May 1990 avoid the administrative inconvenience of applying for an exception from a rumored funding freeze. Procurement Socio-Economic Policies n Small business set-asides w n Contract awards H H H Price reasonableness Contracting officer may not ignore prior procurement history, government estimate, and other rel- evant evidence in determining whether small business price received was in fact fair and reasona- ble. B-238402, Mas 23.1990 90-l CPD 495 Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Contract awards n w Administrative discretion n n H Cost/technical tradeoffs n n n H Cost savings Award to lower-cost offeror receiving lower technical score was proper where agency reasonably concluded that point scores overstated protester’s technical advantage and any actual advantage did not justify the cost premium involved. Procurement Competitive Negotiation H Requests for proposals H n Evaluation criteria n n n Cost/technical tradeoffs n n H H Weighting Where solicitation indicates that cost will be evaluated but does not indicate its specific weight relative to technical factors, it is presumed that cost and technical factors will be considered to be approximately equal in importance. B-236603.2, May 24.1990 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures H n GAO decisions n n n Reversal n w n H Factual errors Decision denying protest of source selection is reversed and the protest sustained where the factu- al basis upon which earlier decision was based-that protester’s excessive electrical work man- hours component made up virtually the entire amount of the difference in price between it and awardee-was erroneous and where agency had no reasonable basis to select lower rated offeror for award under the solicitation’s evaluation criteria in which technical was worth ‘75 percent and cost only 25 percent. Page 34 Digests-May 1990 . l Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Contract awards n q Administrative discretion q n W Cost/technical tradeoffs B H W n Technical superiority Decision denying protest of source selection is reversed and the protest sustained where the factu- al basis upon which earlier decision was based-that protester’s excessive electrical work man- hours component made up virtually the entire amount of the difference in price between it and awardee-was erroneous and where agency had no reasonable basis to select lower rated offeror for award under the solicitation’s evaluation criteria in which technical was worth 75 percent and cost only 25 percent. B-238420, B-238420.2, May 24,199O 90-l CPD 497 Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Contract awards n n Administrative discretion W W W Cost/technical tradeoffs n W W H Technical superiority Award to higher-priced offeror is unobjectionable where technical considerations were more impor- tant than cost under the solicitation and agency reasonably concluded that technical superiority of awardee’s proposal was worth the additional cost. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Offers n W Risks n n W Evaluation n H n H Technical acceptability Consideration of technical risk in evaluating proposals is unobjectionable since, although not speci- fied as an evaluation criterion in the solicitation, technical risk is reasonably related to the speci- fied technical evaluation criteria. B-239262, May 24,199O 90-l CPD 498 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n H Pending litigation q n n GAO review Procurement Contract Management n Contract administration n n Default termination B W n Resolicitation n n n n GAO review The General Accounting Office has no authority to consider, let alone issue, stay of reprocurement solicitation pending outcome of protester’s appeal of default termination of original contract with the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. Page 35 Digests-May 1990 l B-239687, May 24,199O 90-l CPD 499 Procurement Sealed Bidding n Bid guarantees n n Responsiveness q n n Sureties n n q q Liability restrictions Procurement Sealed Bidding n Bids q n Bid guarantees n q n Omission A n q n Responsiveness Bid properly may be rejected as nonresponsive where bidder fails to indicate penal sum of bid bond either as a percentage of the bid amount or as a fixed sum. B-222413.2, May 25,199O 90-l CPD 500 Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Offers n n Evaluation n n q Options n q q q Prices Protest that agency was required to issue a new solicitation to test market before exercising an option is denied where agency reasonably determined that option was the most advantageous offer based upon informal price analysis, considering product availability and other factors. B-236784.2, May 25,199O 90-l CPD 501 Procurement Bid Protests II GAO procedures n n GAO decisions n W n Reconsideration Request for reconsideration that is based on arguments previously considered and rejected is denied since the requester has not furnished a legal or factual basis for reversing the earlier deci- sion. Page 36 Digests-May 1990 c c B-238470, May 25,199O 90-l CPD 502 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n q Interested parties n n n Direct interest standards Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Competitive advantage n n Non-prejudicial allegation Protest alleging awardee was provided an undue competitive advantage because it had submitted unsolicited proposals which in part formed the basis for a competitive procurement is dismissed where the protester was fifth in line for award and is, therefore, not an interested party to protest. B-239630, May 25, 1990 90-l CPD 503 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n Protest timeliness q n n lo-day rule n n n n Adverse agency actions Letter to contracting agency’s purchasing agent stating intent to protest but which does not state any specific basis for protest is not sufficient to constitute agency-level protest and a subsequent protest to the General Accounting Office 6 weeks after basis of protest was known is dismissed as untimely. B-236265.4, May 29,199O 90-l CPD 504 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n GAO decisions n n n Reconsideration Requests for reconsideration which merely disagree with the General Accounting Office’s initial decision without showing that the decision was based on error of fact or law do not provide any basis for modification or reversal. Procurement Competitive Negotiation n Discussion reopening H n ‘Propriety n n n Best/final offers n n q n Corrective actions Agency reasonably provided offerors whose best and final offers (BAFO) had been found technical- ly acceptable an opportunity to submit new BAFOs in response to the General Accounting Office’s (GAO) remedial recommendation to reopen discussions and obtain another round of BAFOs under a protest sustained because the agency conducted improper post-award discussions with the award- ee only. The agency was not *eq&ed to conduct additional detailed discussions with offerors whose proposals were technically acceptable in order to comply with GAO’s recommendation, which did not require that the agency entirely reconduct the procurement. Page 37 Digests-May 1990 . B-236790.2, May 29,199O 90-l CPD 505 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n n GAO decisions q n n Reconsideration Request for reconsideration is denied where it is based upon information that was available, but not submitted, during consideration of original protest and it otherwise does not establish the ex- istence of error in prior decision. B-238423, Mas 29,199O 90-l CPD 506 Procurement Sealed Bidding q Bids n n Responsiveness q n n Terms n n n n Deviation Insertion of unsolicited part number in a bid, even if included merely for a bidder’s internal con- trol purposes, qualifies bid, creating doubt whether the bidder is offering to comply with the solici- tation specifications. The contracting officer properly rejected such a qualified bid where it did not contain an express statement that the designated part conforms to all solicitation requirements, and there was no data available to the contracting officer before bid opening which demonstrated that the part specified was compliant. Procurement Sealed Bidding n Qualified bids n n Responsiveness Insertion of unsolicited part number in a bid, even if included merely for a bidder’s internal con- trol purposes, qualifies bid, creating doubt whether the bidder is offering to comply with the solici- tation specifications. The contracting officer properly rejected such a qualified bid where it did not contain an express statement that the designated part conforms to all solicitation requirements, and there was no data available to the contracting officer before bid opening which demonstrated that the part specified was compliant B-238596, Marv 29.1990 90-l CPD 507 Procurement Competitive Negotiation H Offers n n Evaluation n n n Personnel experience Protest that evaluation factors in solicitation for loan servicing should have included prior experi- ence as a separate factor is denied where prior experience was included under several evaluation factors and the record shows that the agency did consider the protester’s prior experience in its evaluation. Page 38 Digests-May 1990 c Procurement Competitive Negotiation q Offers Protest that agency did not give credit for an alleged reduction in cost in protester’s proposal is denied where the solicitation basically required the protester to factor this reduction into the fixed-unit rate it submitted as its cost and the protester failed to do this. Furthermore, where the alleged reduction would not render the protester’s cost lower than the awardee’s cost, where cost was in any case less important than technical considerations and the awardee’s offer was techni- cally superior, failure to consider this reduction did not prejudice the award decision. Procurement Competitive Negotiation Is Requests for proposals Protest that agency improperly extended the period contractors would be responsible for delin- quent accounts without providing notice to offerors and affording firms an opportunity to revise offers is denied where the requirement was modified in writing. the written modification was given to offerors during discussions, and the evaluation of best and final offers was consistent with the revised terms. B-238276.2, May 30,199O 90-l CPD 508 Procurement Bid Protests 1$1GAO procedures Ip W GAO decisions q H E!JReconsideration Request for reconsideration is denied where protester merely reiterates prior arguments and does not present factual or legal grounds warranting reversal or modification of an earlier dismissal of protest of agency’s affirmative responsibility determination. B-238505, May 30,199O 90-l CPD 509 Procurement Competitive Negotiation q Offers t realism valuation Administrative discretion Where agency request for second best and final offer (BAFOI states that it is concerned about the realism of offerors’ prices and states that any changes to a proposal must be explained in detail by the offeror, agency properly considered unacceptable an unexplained price reduction and change in proposal’s pricing format in protester’s second BAFO. Page 39 Digests-May 1990 l B-236792.5. Mav 31.1990 90-l CPD 510 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures W W Preparation costs Where a protest is dismissed as academic because procured item is no longer required, there is no decision on the merits of the protest and therefore no basis for recovery of protest costs. Procurement Bid Protests n Moot allegation 1 W GAO review Protest was properly dismissed as academic where protested contract was terminated because un- manned air vehicles solicited were no longer required; underlying protest became academic when no award would be made under the solicitation. B-237005.2, May 31, 1990*** 90-l CPD 511 Procurement Bid Protests H GAO procedures n W GAO decisions W H n Reconsideration Procurement Competitive Negotiation H Contract awards II W Propriety General Accounting Office denies request for reconsideration of previous decision which upheld award to low evaluated offeror, in absence of evidence that low evaluated offer would result in other than the lowest ultimate cost to the government. B-237727.2, May 31,199O 90-l CPD 512 Procurement Bid Protests W GAO procedures H H GAO decision ; W n n Reconsideration A protester who offers the same part as the awardee on a small purchase procurement, but at a higher price, is not ~prejudiced where its protest is that the awardee misidentified the part in its quote and the awardse’s quote appeared acceptable on its face and offered a product that met the government’s require ments. Page 40 Digests-May 1990 c B-237864.2, May 31,199O Procurement Bid Protests E GAO procedures E 81 GAO decisions W W S Reconsideration Decision denying a protest because the protester failed to present any support or specifics to sub- stantiate its allegation that the firm represented by an offeror as the manufacturer of the items to be supplied would not be the manufacturer and the items may be of foreign origin is affirmed where the protester in its request for reconsideration still offers no support for its allegations. B-238411.2, May 31,199O 90-l CPD 513 Procurement Bid Protests n GAO procedures n W Protest timeliness H W H lo-day rule Procurement Bid Protests q GAO procedures q 0 Protest timeliness n W W Good cause exemptions n W W n Applicability When a protester has sufficient information upon which to base a protest, it must file a protest within 10 working days and not wait until it obtains all of the information to which it believes it is entitled under the Freedom of Information Act; therefore, the agency’s failure to promptly pro- vide the information sought does not constitute good cause under the Bid Protest Regulations to warrant consideration of an untimely protest. B-238670, Mas 31.1990 90-l CPD 514 Procurement Sealed Bidding n Bids H W Responsiveness W E W Terms E W W q Deviation Bid that modified requirements of an invitation for bids by adding an additional sub-line item is nonresponsive since it contained a material deviation from the terms of the invitation for bids which imposed conditions resulting in a competitive advantage to that bidder. Page 41 Digests-May 1990 * f 4 B-238703. B-238704. Mav 31.1990 90-l CPD 515 Procurement Sealed Bidding 0 Invitations for bids q H Cancellation H W q Justification W W W W Price reasonableness Agency’s cancellation of solicitation after bid opening on the basis that all otherwise acceptable bids are unreasonable in price is proper where the low responsive bid exceeds the government esti- mate by a significant amount. Procurement Sealed Bidding n Invitations for bids n E Cancellation E W W Resolicitation n n n n Requests for proposals Conversion of invitation for bids to a negotiated procurement after rejection of all otherwise ac- ceptable bids for price unreasonableness is proper where the contracting officer follows the proce- dures set forth in the Federal Acquisition Regulation at section 15.103, and preserves the integrity of the competitive process. B-238712.2, May 31, 1990 90-l CPD 526 Procurement Contract Management W Contract administration n W GAO review Question relating to fulfillment of payment and performance bond requirements, which are imple- mented after contract award, is a matter of contract administration not cognizable by the General Accounting Office under ita Bid Protest Regulations, B-239846, May 31.1990 90-P CPD 527 Procurement Sealed Bidding q Bids WW Responsivness H W q Signatures E q H W Omission Agency’s determination that bid was nonresponsive is proper where bid was signed with a rubber- stamp signature but was not accompanied by any evidence showing that, before bid opening, bidder had authorized the use of a rubber-stamp signature. Page 42 Digests-May 1990
Digests of Decisions of the Comptroller General of the United States, Vol. I, No. 8
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-05-01.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)