B-197016(2),L/M, JUL 1, 1980

B-197016(2),L/M: Jul 1, 1980

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ENCLOSED ARE TWO COPIES OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY. HE REQUESTS THAT YOU SEEK AN INVESTIGATION AS TO WHETHER THERE IS A HISTORY OF PROTESTS TO OUR OFFICE BY THESE INDIVIDUALS OR FIRMS. ANY INTERESTED PARTY WHO IS ALLEGING IMPROPRIETIES IN A SOLICITATION OR AWARD BY A FEDERAL AGENCY WHOSE ACCOUNTS ARE SUBJECT TO SETTLEMENT BY OUR OFFICE MAY FILE A PROTEST. ALL PROTESTS ACTUALLY WERE FILED BY THE NAMED FIRMS. OUR PROCEDURES ARE INTENDED TO PROVIDE FAIR CONSIDERATION OF PROTESTS IN A TIMELY MANNER. WE RECOGNIZE THAT EXPEDITIOUS HANDLING IS INDISPENSIBLE TO THE ORDERLY PROCESS OF GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT AND TO THE PROTECTION OF BOTH PROTESTERS AND OTHER PARTIES. IN CASES WHERE IT IS CLEAR FROM INITIAL SUBMISSIONS THAT A PROTEST IS WITHOUT LEGAL MERIT.

B-197016(2),L/M, JUL 1, 1980

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

HARRY F. BYRD, JR., UNITED STATES SENATE:

YOU RECENTLY EXPRESSED INTEREST ON BEHALF OF W. L. HOLTZMAN OF VISION, INC. IN THE PROTESTS OF BAKER MANUFACTURING COMPANY, JOERNS FURNITURE COMPANY, AND CARSONS OF HIGH POINT, NORTH CAROLINA, REGARDING THE AWARD OF CONTRACTS FOR HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION.

AS REQUESTED, ENCLOSED ARE TWO COPIES OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY, ALONG WITH THE MATERIAL SUBMITTED TO US BY YOUR OFFICE.

IN CORRESPONDENCE TO YOU, MR. HOLTZMAN HAS IMPLIED THAT CERTAIN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS AND THEIR WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVES MAY BE USING OUR REGULATIONS TO DISCOURAGE OR HARASS THEIR COMPETITORS, THEREBY REDUCING COMPETITION AND GAINING UNFAIR ADVANTAGE. HE REQUESTS THAT YOU SEEK AN INVESTIGATION AS TO WHETHER THERE IS A HISTORY OF PROTESTS TO OUR OFFICE BY THESE INDIVIDUALS OR FIRMS.

UNDER OUR BID PROTEST PROCEDURES, 4 C.F.R. PART 20 (1980), ANY INTERESTED PARTY WHO IS ALLEGING IMPROPRIETIES IN A SOLICITATION OR AWARD BY A FEDERAL AGENCY WHOSE ACCOUNTS ARE SUBJECT TO SETTLEMENT BY OUR OFFICE MAY FILE A PROTEST. OUR PROCEDURES DO NOT LIMIT THE NUMBER OF PROTESTS WHICH MAY BE FILED OR PROHIBIT PROTESTERS FROM BEING REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL OR MANUFACTURERS' REPRESENTATIVES. IN THIS CASE, HOWEVER, ALL PROTESTS ACTUALLY WERE FILED BY THE NAMED FIRMS.

OUR PROCEDURES ARE INTENDED TO PROVIDE FAIR CONSIDERATION OF PROTESTS IN A TIMELY MANNER. WE RECOGNIZE THAT EXPEDITIOUS HANDLING IS INDISPENSIBLE TO THE ORDERLY PROCESS OF GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT AND TO THE PROTECTION OF BOTH PROTESTERS AND OTHER PARTIES.

FOR THESE REASONS, IN CASES WHERE IT IS CLEAR FROM INITIAL SUBMISSIONS THAT A PROTEST IS WITHOUT LEGAL MERIT, WE WILL DISMISS OR SUMMARILY DENY IT WITHOUT REQUESTING A FULLY DOCUMENTED REPORT FROM THE PROCURING AGENCY. HOWEVER, THIS CASE WAS NOT SUSCEPTIBLE TO SUMMARY TREATMENT, SINCE THE PROTESTERS RAISED QUESTIONS OF FACT AND LAW WHICH HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN CONSIDERED BY OUR OFFICE. WE THEREFORE FOUND IT NECESSARY TO DEVELOP A COMPLETE RECORD BEFORE REACHING OUR DECISION.

UNDER THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS, SEC. 1-2.407-8(B)(4) (1964 ED.) A CONTRACTING AGENCY MAY MAKE AWARD NOTWITHSTANDING A PROTEST IF IT DETERMINES, AT A LEVEL HIGHER THAN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, THAT SUCH ACTION WILL BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. GSA DID SO IN THIS CASE, AND YOUR CONSTITUENT'S FIRM, VISION, INC., WAS PART OF A JOINT VENTURE RECEIVING AN AWARD IN FEBRUARY 1980.

WE HAVE CHECKED OUR FILES WITH REGARD TO A HISTORY OF PROTESTS FILED BY THE PARTIES TO THIS CASE. WE FIND THAT IN ADDITION TO THE CURRENT PROTEST, BAKER FILED ONE OTHER PROTEST IN 1979, THREE IN 1978, AND ONE EACH IN 1969, 1966, AND 1959. JOERNS FILED ONE PROTEST EACH DURING THE YEARS 1976, 1969, AND 1967; CARSONS FILED ONE PROTEST IN 1960. THE MANUFACTURERS' REPRESENTATIVE WHO SIGNED THEIR BIDS UNDER THE PROTESTED SOLICITATION FILED ONE PROTEST ON BEHALF OF A DIFFERENT COMPANY IN 1979 AND TWO PROTESTS IN 1958. WE HAVE NO RECORD OF REQUESTS FOR GAO DOCUMENTS BY ANY OF THESE FIRMS OR INDIVIDUALS. WE THEREFORE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT THERE IS ANY FACTUAL BASIS FOR MR. HOLTZMAN'S ALLEGATIONS OF POSSIBLE MISUSE OF OUR PROCEDURES.

I HOPE THIS INFORMATION WILL BE HELPFUL TO YOU.