B-183505, JUL 7, 1975

B-183505: Jul 7, 1975

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PROTEST THAT EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS IN IFB FOR MANAGERS OF MESS ATTENDANT SERVICES AT AIR FORCE DINING HALLS ARE RESTRICTIVE OF COMPETITION AND IN EXCESS OF GOVERNMENT'S ACTUAL NEEDS NOT SUPPORTED BY RECORD WHERE IT IS SHOWN THAT PROCURING ACTIVITY REASONABLY EXERCISED ITS JUDGMENT IN IMPOSING THE MANAGERIAL EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS AND SEVERAL RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDS WERE RECEIVED. 2. FACT THAT BIDDER CANNOT OR WILL NOT MEET GOVERNMENT'S STATED NEEDS DOES NOT WARRANT CONCLUSION THAT SPECIFICATIONS ARE UNDULY RESTRICTIVE. F44600-75-09036 ARE RESTRICTIVE. THE IFB WAS ISSUED BY THE LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE. THE GRAVAMEN OF KLEEN-RITE'S PROTEST IS THAT THE MANAGERIAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE IFB ARE PREJUDICIAL TO SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS AND ARE IN CONTRADICTION TO THE PROCUREMENT WHICH IS A 100-PERCENT SMALL BUSINESS SET -ASIDE.

B-183505, JUL 7, 1975

1. PROTEST THAT EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS IN IFB FOR MANAGERS OF MESS ATTENDANT SERVICES AT AIR FORCE DINING HALLS ARE RESTRICTIVE OF COMPETITION AND IN EXCESS OF GOVERNMENT'S ACTUAL NEEDS NOT SUPPORTED BY RECORD WHERE IT IS SHOWN THAT PROCURING ACTIVITY REASONABLY EXERCISED ITS JUDGMENT IN IMPOSING THE MANAGERIAL EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS AND SEVERAL RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDS WERE RECEIVED. 2. FACT THAT BIDDER CANNOT OR WILL NOT MEET GOVERNMENT'S STATED NEEDS DOES NOT WARRANT CONCLUSION THAT SPECIFICATIONS ARE UNDULY RESTRICTIVE.

KLEEN-RITE CORPORATION:

KLEEN-RITE CORPORATION (KLEEN-RITE) ALLEGES THAT CERTAIN SPECIFICATIONS OF INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. F44600-75-09036 ARE RESTRICTIVE. THE IFB WAS ISSUED BY THE LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, VIRGINIA, TO PROVIDE FOOD ATTENDANT SERVICES AT THE BASE.

THE GRAVAMEN OF KLEEN-RITE'S PROTEST IS THAT THE MANAGERIAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE IFB ARE PREJUDICIAL TO SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS AND ARE IN CONTRADICTION TO THE PROCUREMENT WHICH IS A 100-PERCENT SMALL BUSINESS SET -ASIDE. FURTHER, THE PROTESTER STATES THAT HAD THE EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS NOT BEEN SO RESTRICTIVE, IT WOULD HAVE SUBMITTED A BID. THE SPECIFICATIONS IN QUESTION WERE LISTED ON PAGE 4, PARAGRAPHS "D" AND "E," AS FOLLOWS:

"D. PROJECT MANAGER/SUPERVISOR:

"1. IN ORDER TO FURNISH ADEQUATE SUPERVISION OVER HIS EMPLOYEES, THE CONTRACTOR SHALL PROVIDE A PROJECT MANAGER/SUPERVISOR WHO WILL BE PRESENT DURING ESTABLISHED OR EMERGENCY FOOD SERVICE DUTY HOURS. THE PROJECT MANAGER/SUPERVISOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SUPERVISION OF ALL CONTRACTED EMPLOYEES.

"2. SIX YEARS SUPERVISORY EXPERIENCE CONSISTING OF A MINIMUM OF TWO YEARS IN A MULTI-FACILITY VOLUME FOOD SERVICE OPERATION PROVIDING COMPLETE MEAL SERVICE AND THREE YEARS EXPERIENCE AS A UNIT MANAGER, ASSISTANT MANAGER OR COOK. MINIMUM HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION. AN AB OR BS DEGREE IN FOOD MANAGEMENT MAY BE SUBSTITUTED FOR FOUR YEARS OF SUPERVISORY EXPERIENCE. MILITARY EXPERIENCE IN THE PAY GRADE OF E-6 OR ABOVE MAY BE CREDITED AS MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE FOR THIS POSITION.

"3. THE PROJECT MANAGER IS RESPONSIBLE TO THE CONTRACTOR FOR THE SUPERVISION OF CIVILIAN CONTRACTED PERSONNEL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRESCRIBED PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS.

"E. ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER/SUPERVISOR:

"1. FOUR YEARS SUPERVISORY EXPERIENCE WITH ONE YEAR AS A MANAGER OF VOLUME FOOD SERVICE ACTIVITY SERVING COMPLETE MEALS AND TWO YEARS OF GENERAL FOOD SERVICE EXPERIENCE. MILITARY FOOD SERVICE IN THE PAY GRADE OF E-5 OR ABOVE MAY BE CREDITED AS MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE FOR THIS POSITION.

"2. THE ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER WILL SUPERVISE FULL TIME AND ACT AS THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CONTRACTOR AS STIPULATED BY THE PROJECT MANAGER."

IT IS THE AIR FORCE'S POSITION THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE NOT UNDULY RESTRICTIVE AND THAT BASED ON QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS OF OTHER AIR FORCE BASES, THE LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE QUALIFICATIONS ARE NOT AS STRINGENT, POINTING OUT THAT THE PROVISIONS FOR ONLY A HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION AND FOR ALLOWING MILITARY EXPERIENCE TO BE CREDITED AS MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE FOR THE POSITION ARE CONSIDERED FAIR. IMPLICIT IN KLEEN-RITE'S CONTENTION IS THAT THE AIR FORCE OVERSTATED ITS ACTUAL NEEDS IN RESPECT TO THE JOB EXPERIENCE REQUIRED FOR THE MANAGERIAL POSITIONS, THEREBY RESTRICTING COMPETITION.

ANY SPECIFICATION IMPOSED IN A CONTRACT, BY ITS VERY NATURE, WILL RESTRICT COMPETITION TO SOME EXTENT. IN THIS REGARD, OUR OFFICE HAS CONSISTENTLY STATED THAT SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD BE DRAWN TO MAXIMIZE COMPETITION. HOWEVER, WE WILL NOT INTERPOSE OUR JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE AGENCY'S EVEN WHERE COMPETITION IS REDUCED UNLESS THERE IS CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE AGENCY OPINION IS IN ERROR AND THAT A CONTRACT AWARDED ON THAT BASIS WOULD BE UNDULY RESTRICTIVE OF COMPETITION. WINSLOW ASSOCIATES, 53 COMP. GEN. 478, 481 (1974), AND CASES CITED IN TEXT.

A REVIEW OF THE RECORD WITH REGARD TO THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR PROJECT MANAGER/SUPERVISOR AND ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER/SUPERVISOR DOES NOT CONVINCE US THAT THOSE REQUIREMENTS ARE RESTRICTIVE OF COMPETITION OR EXCESSIVE OF THE AGENCY'S ACTUAL NEEDS, B-177008(2), JANUARY 31, 1973, ESPECIALLY IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT 18 RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDS WERE RECEIVED. THE EXPLANATION BY THE AIR FORCE FOR THE BASIS OF THE REQUIREMENTS, I.E., A POSITION AFFECTING THE HEALTH, MORALE AND WELL BEING OF BASE POPULATION, APPEARS REASONABLE AND NOT THE RESULT OF AN ARBITRARY PROCESS. ADDITIONALLY, THE FACT THAT A BIDDER CANNOT OR WILL NOT MEET THE GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS DOES NOT WARRANT THE CONCLUSION THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE UNDULY RESTRICTIVE. 36 COMP. GEN. 251 (1956); 33 ID. 586 (1954); 30 ID. 368 (1951).

ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.