B-198844.3, JAN 19, 1981

B-198844.3: Jan 19, 1981

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DIGEST: GAO DOES NOT REVIEW AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY IN ABSENCE OF SHOWING OF FRAUD OR ALLEGATIONS THAT DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA IN SOLICITATION WERE MISAPPLIED. PHAROS WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON A CONTRACT FOR MANAGEMENT CONSULTING SERVICES FOR SBA'S RICHMOND. PAI CONTENDED THAT PHAROS SUBMITTED AN UNREASONABLY LOW PRICE AND THEREFORE WAS NOT A RESPONSIBLE OFFEROR CAPABLE OF PERFORMING THE SERVICES IN A PROFESSIONAL AND WORKMANLIKE MANNER. PAI NOW CONTENDS THAT THE AWARD TO PHAROS SHOULD BE SET ASIDE BECAUSE DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA WHICH WERE CONTAINED IN THE SOLICITATION WERE MISAPPLIED. PAI BASES ITS CONTENTION THAT DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA WERE MISAPPLIED ON THE FACT THAT PAI'S OFFER ON A SIMILAR CONTRACT FOR SBA'S NORTH CAROLINA DISTRICT OFFICE WAS ONLY 2.1 PERCENT OVER THE WINNING PRICE WHEREAS ITS OFFER FOR THESE SAME SERVICES UNDER THIS SOLICITATION WAS 102 PERCENT OVER PHAROS' SUCCESSFUL PRICE.

B-198844.3, JAN 19, 1981

DIGEST: GAO DOES NOT REVIEW AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY IN ABSENCE OF SHOWING OF FRAUD OR ALLEGATIONS THAT DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA IN SOLICITATION WERE MISAPPLIED. PRICE DISPARITY IN OFFERS FOR SIMILAR SERVICES UNDER TWO DIFFERENT SOLICITATIONS DOES NOT ESTABLISH MISAPPLICATION OF DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA.

PROFICIENCY ASSOCIATES, INC.:

PROFICIENCY ASSOCIATES, INC. (PAI) PROTESTS THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT BY THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA) TO PHAROS, INC. UNDER SOLICITATION NO. RFP-SBA-7(J)-MSB-80-2.

PHAROS WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON A CONTRACT FOR MANAGEMENT CONSULTING SERVICES FOR SBA'S RICHMOND, VIRGINIA DISTRICT OFFICE. INITIALLY, PAI CONTENDED THAT PHAROS SUBMITTED AN UNREASONABLY LOW PRICE AND THEREFORE WAS NOT A RESPONSIBLE OFFEROR CAPABLE OF PERFORMING THE SERVICES IN A PROFESSIONAL AND WORKMANLIKE MANNER. PAI NOW CONTENDS THAT THE AWARD TO PHAROS SHOULD BE SET ASIDE BECAUSE DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA WHICH WERE CONTAINED IN THE SOLICITATION WERE MISAPPLIED.

PAI BASES ITS CONTENTION THAT DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA WERE MISAPPLIED ON THE FACT THAT PAI'S OFFER ON A SIMILAR CONTRACT FOR SBA'S NORTH CAROLINA DISTRICT OFFICE WAS ONLY 2.1 PERCENT OVER THE WINNING PRICE WHEREAS ITS OFFER FOR THESE SAME SERVICES UNDER THIS SOLICITATION WAS 102 PERCENT OVER PHAROS' SUCCESSFUL PRICE. PAI CONCLUDES THAT THE UNREASONABLY LOW CONTRACT PRICE INDICATES THAT PHAROS DOES NOT INTEND TO PERFORM THE SERVICES AS CONTRACTUALLY REQUIRED AND THAT DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA WERE THEREFORE MISAPPLIED. WE DO NOT AGREE.

THE PROTESTER'S ALLEGATIONS RELATE TO PHAROS' RESPONSIBILITY AS A PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTOR. THIS OFFICE DOES NOT REVIEW PROTESTS OF AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY UNLESS FRAUD ON THE PART OF THE PROCURING OFFICIALS IS ALLEGED OR THE SOLICITATION CONTAINS DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA WHICH ALLEGEDLY HAVE BEEN MISAPPLIED. BOWMAN ENTERPRISES, INC., B-194015, FEBRUARY 16, 1979, 79-1 CPD 121; ALCO TOOL AND MANUFACTURING, INC., B-200422, OCTOBER 8, 1980, 80-2 CPD 260.

DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA ARE STANDARDS ESTABLISHED BY AN AGENCY FOR A PARTICULAR PROCUREMENT FOR THE MEASUREMENT OF AN OFFEROR'S ABILITY TO PERFORM THE CONTRACT. SUCH SPECIAL STANDARDS OF RESPONSIBILITY LIMIT THE CLASS OF OFFERORS TO THOSE MEETING SPECIFIED QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE QUALIFICATIONS NECESSARY FOR ADEQUATE CONTRACT PERFORMANCE, E.G., MINIMUM EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS. HAUGHTON ELEVATOR DIVISION, RELIANCE ELECTRIC COMPANY, 55 COMP.GEN. 1051 (1976), 76-1 CPD 294. THERE ARE NO SUCH QUESTIONS PRESENTED HERE. IN THIS REGARD, WE NOTE THAT MERE PRICE DISPARITIES IN OFFERS FOR SIMILAR SERVICES UNDER TWO DIFFERENT SOLICITATIONS DOES NOT ESTABLISH MISAPPLICATION OF DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA. FURTHER, A REVIEW OF THE PRESENT SOLICITATION REVEALS NO SUCH DEFINITIVE RESPONSIBILITY CRITERIA TO BE APPLIED.

WE WILL THEREFORE NOT REVIEW THE AFFIRMATIVE DETERMINATION OF RESPONSIBILITY AND THE PROTEST IS DISMISSED.