B-176717(2), FEB 8, 1973

B-176717(2): Feb 8, 1973

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ALTHOUGH THE PROTEST WAS DENIED. SECRETARY: THIS IS IN REFERENCE TO A PROTEST BY MINNESOTA (3M) GRAPHIC SERVICE. THERE IS ENCLOSED FOR YOUR INFORMATION A COPY OF OUR LETTER OF TODAY TO THE COMPANY IN WHICH WE CONCLUDE THAT ITS PROTEST WAS NOT TIMELY FILED AND IS. ALSO ENCLOSED ARE COPIES OF THE PROTEST LETTERS FROM 3M TO THIS OFFICE AND THE LETTER DATED DECEMBER 20. APPEARS THAT THE LATTER CORRESPONDENCE WAS THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE RESPONSE MADE BY YOUR DEPARTMENT TO THE COMPANY'S PROTEST LETTER DATED JULY 10. WE HAVE NOTED THE STATEMENT IN ARMY'S LETTER OF DECEMBER 20. THIS STATEMENT IS OFFERED AS A PARTIAL EXPLANATION FOR THE DELAY ENCOUNTERED BY 3M IN RECEIVING A DETAILED ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSE TO ITS PROTEST.

B-176717(2), FEB 8, 1973

BID PROTEST - PROMPT DISPOSITION BY CONTRACTING OFFICER CONCERNING THE PROTEST OF MINNESOTA (3M) GRAPHIC SERVICE, INC., AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO T&D ENTERPRISES UNDER AN RFP ISSUED BY THE U.S. ARMY PROCUREMENT AGENCY, VIETNAM. ALTHOUGH THE PROTEST WAS DENIED, IN THE FUTURE THE CONTRACTING OFFICERS SHOULD PROVIDE PROTESTANTS PROMPT ADVICE AS TO THEIR POSITION.

TO MR. SECRETARY:

THIS IS IN REFERENCE TO A PROTEST BY MINNESOTA (3M) GRAPHIC SERVICE, INC., AGAINST AWARD OF CONTRACT DAJB11-72-C-0331 TO T&D ENTERPRISES, BY THE U.S. ARMY PROCUREMENT AGENCY, VIETNAM.

THERE IS ENCLOSED FOR YOUR INFORMATION A COPY OF OUR LETTER OF TODAY TO THE COMPANY IN WHICH WE CONCLUDE THAT ITS PROTEST WAS NOT TIMELY FILED AND IS, THEREFORE, INAPPROPRIATE FOR CONSIDERATION BY OUR OFFICE.

ALSO ENCLOSED ARE COPIES OF THE PROTEST LETTERS FROM 3M TO THIS OFFICE AND THE LETTER DATED DECEMBER 20, 1972, FROM THE CHIEF, PROCUREMENT DIVISION, HEADQUARTERS U.S. ARMY, PACIFIC, DENYING THE PROTEST. APPEARS THAT THE LATTER CORRESPONDENCE WAS THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE RESPONSE MADE BY YOUR DEPARTMENT TO THE COMPANY'S PROTEST LETTER DATED JULY 10, 1972, FILED WITH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. WE HAVE NOTED THE STATEMENT IN ARMY'S LETTER OF DECEMBER 20, THAT THE INVOLVEMENT OF THIS OFFICE RESULTED IN THE MATTER BEING REFERRED TO HIGHER AUTHORITY. THIS STATEMENT IS OFFERED AS A PARTIAL EXPLANATION FOR THE DELAY ENCOUNTERED BY 3M IN RECEIVING A DETAILED ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSE TO ITS PROTEST. WHILE THIS OFFICE HAD BEFORE IT FOR CONSIDERATION A PROTEST BY ANOTHER BIDDER WHO HAD BEEN FOUND TO BE A NONRESPONSIBLE BIDDER FOR DIFFERENT ITEMS UNDER THIS SOLICITATION, WE SEE NO REASON WHY EITHER OUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE OTHER PROTEST, OR THE FACT THAT WE HAD BEEN PROVIDED COPIES OF 3M'S PROTEST TO YOUR DEPARTMENT, SHOULD HAVE REQUIRED OR JUSTIFIED REFERRAL OF THE 3M PROTEST TO HIGHER AUTHORITY.

AS YOU KNOW OUR INTERIM BID PROTEST PROCEDURES AND STANDARDS URGE PROTESTORS TO SEEK RESOLUTION OF THEIR COMPLAINTS INITIALLY WITH THE CONTRACTING AGENCY. WE BELIEVE THAT ADHERENCE TO SUCH ADVICE SHOULD, WHENEVER POSSIBLE, RESULT IN THE PROTESTOR RECEIVING PROMPT ADVICE OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S POSITION IN THE MATTER, EXCEPT OF COURSE WHERE THERE IS A DEMONSTRATED NEED FOR REFERRING THE MATTER TO HIGHER AUTHORITY. ACCORDINGLY, WE SUGGEST THAT YOU MAY WISH TO CONSIDER THE ADVISABILITY OF TAKING APPROPRIATE STEPS TO INSURE THAT, WHENEVER POSSIBLE, CONTRACTING OFFICERS PROVIDE SUCH PROTESTORS PROMPT ADVICE OF THEIR POSITIONS.

WE WOULD APPRECIATE RECEIVING ADVICE OF WHATEVER ACTION IS TAKEN ON OUR RECOMMENDATION.