B-174816(2), MAR 2, 1972

B-174816(2): Mar 2, 1972

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IT IS IN THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO INSURE THAT THE BENEFIT OF THE LOWEST BID PRICE NOT BE FORFEITED BY A FAILURE TO RESOLVE A BIDDER'S COMPLIANCE STATUS. IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED THAT ACTION BE TAKEN TO PROTEST AGAINST PROLONGED DELAY IN RESOLVING THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION COMPLIANCE STATUS OF CONTRACTOR-BIDDERS. CONTRACTORS SHOULD BE SPECIFICALLY ADVISED DURING THE "SHOW CAUSE" PERIOD PURSUANT TO 41 CFR 60-2.2(C) THAT THEY CAN BE FOUND NONRESPONSIBLE UNTIL THE MATTER IS FAVORABLY RESOLVED. KREGER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 31. ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION IN THIS MATTER. WHILE WE HAVE DENIED THE PROTEST. CONTRACTORS WERE SPECIFICALLY ADVISED THAT THEY CAN BE FOUND NONRESPONSIBLE UNTIL THE MATTER IS FAVORABLY RESOLVED.

B-174816(2), MAR 2, 1972

BID PROTEST - NONRESPONSIBILITY - AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PLANS - DUE PROCESS CONCERNING THE DENIAL OF A PROTEST OF THE ALTON BOX BOARD COMPANY AGAINST REJECTION OF ITS BID UNDER A GSA SOLICITATION. IT IS IN THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO INSURE THAT THE BENEFIT OF THE LOWEST BID PRICE NOT BE FORFEITED BY A FAILURE TO RESOLVE A BIDDER'S COMPLIANCE STATUS. IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED THAT ACTION BE TAKEN TO PROTEST AGAINST PROLONGED DELAY IN RESOLVING THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION COMPLIANCE STATUS OF CONTRACTOR-BIDDERS. FURTHER, IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS, CONTRACTORS SHOULD BE SPECIFICALLY ADVISED DURING THE "SHOW CAUSE" PERIOD PURSUANT TO 41 CFR 60-2.2(C) THAT THEY CAN BE FOUND NONRESPONSIBLE UNTIL THE MATTER IS FAVORABLY RESOLVED.

TO MR. RODERICK F. KREGER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 31, 1972, FROM YOUR GENERAL COUNSEL FURNISHING OUR OFFICE A REPORT ON THE PROTEST OF ALTON BOX BOARD COMPANY AGAINST THE REJECTION OF ITS LOW BID UNDER SOLICITATION NO. CHNFT- 71-041, ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, REGION 5.

ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION IN THIS MATTER. WHILE WE HAVE DENIED THE PROTEST, WE BELIEVE SEVERAL ASPECTS OF THIS CASE MERIT REMEDIAL ACTION.

WE HELD IN OUR DECISION THAT, AS A TECHNICAL MATTER, PUBLICATION OF OFCC'S REGULATIONS (41 CFR 60-2) GAVE NOTICE THAT NONCOMPLYING CONTRACTOR- BIDDERS WOULD BE DECLARED NONRESPONSIBLE, NEVERTHELESS, WE FEEL IT WOULD BE TO THE INTEREST OF BOTH THE BIDDER AND THE GOVERNMENT IF, AT THE TIME OF ISSUANCE OF A "SHOW CAUSE" ORDER (SEE 41 CFR 60 2.2(C)), CONTRACTORS WERE SPECIFICALLY ADVISED THAT THEY CAN BE FOUND NONRESPONSIBLE UNTIL THE MATTER IS FAVORABLY RESOLVED. WE RECOMMEND THAT SUCH NOTICE BE FURNISHED CONTRACTORS IN FUTURE CASES.

FOR THE REASONS STATED IN OUR DECISION, WE ALSO RECOMMEND THAT APPROPRIATE ACTION BE TAKEN TO PROTECT AGAINST PROLONGED DELAY, SUCH AS OCCURRED IN THIS CASE, IN FINALLY RESOLVING THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION COMPLIANCE STATUS OF CONTRACTOR-BIDDERS. SEE OUR DECISIONS TO YOUR PREDECESSOR. 43 COMP. GEN. 140 (1963) AND B-150791 AND B-150861, APRIL 25, 1963, COPIES ENCLOSED.

WE ARE, OF COURSE, CONCERNED BY THE FACT THAT IN CASES SUCH AS THE INSTANT CASE, THE GOVERNMENT MAY BE DEPRIVED OF THE BENEFIT OF THE LOWEST BID PRICE BY THE FAILURE OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO MAKE EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT TO HAVE THAT BIDDER'S COMPLIANCE STATUS FINALLY RESOLVED BEFORE MAKING AN AWARD TO A HIGHER BIDDER. YOU MAY THEREFORE WISH TO TAKE SUCH ACTION AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO INSURE THAT CONTRACTING OFFICERS TAKE THE INITIATIVE IN ATTEMPTING TO RESOLVE SUCH PROBLEMS PRIOR TO AWARD.

ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR LETTER OF TODAY TO THE DIRECTOR, OFCC IN THIS MATTER.

WE WOULD APPRECIATE BEING ADVISED OF ANY ACTION YOU MAY TAKE REGARDING THE ABOVE RECOMMENDATIONS.

THE FILE FORWARDED WITH THE REPORT OF JANUARY 31 IS RETURNED.