B-199527, DEC 15, 1980

B-199527: Dec 15, 1980

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ALLEGATION THAT AGENCY DID NOT ADEQUATELY ADVISE PROTESTER OF DEFICIENCIES IN ITS PROPOSAL IS WITHOUT MERIT WHERE RECORD SHOWS THAT PROTESTER PARTICIPATED IN BOTH ORAL AND WRITTEN DISCUSSIONS DURING WHICH AGENCY RAISED ONE OR MORE QUESTIONS RELATED TO DEFICIENCIES FOUND IN PROTESTER'S PROPOSAL. RECORD DOES NOT SUPPORT PROTESTER'S CONTENTION THAT DISCUSSIONS WERE CONDUCTED IN BIASED AND ARBITRARY MANNER. 2. ALLEGATION THAT AGENCY DEMONSTRATED BIAS IN SELECTION PROCESS IS WITHOUT MERIT WHERE RECORD SHOWS THAT AGENCY REDUCED PROTESTER'S TECHNICAL SCORE BASED ON SPECIFIC DEFICIENCIES FOUND IN BEST AND FINAL OFFER AND ON BASIS OF COMPETITION AVAILABLE IN PROCUREMENT DETERMINED PROTESTER WAS NO LONGER WITHIN COMPETITIVE RANGE. 3.

B-199527, DEC 15, 1980

DIGEST: 1. ALLEGATION THAT AGENCY DID NOT ADEQUATELY ADVISE PROTESTER OF DEFICIENCIES IN ITS PROPOSAL IS WITHOUT MERIT WHERE RECORD SHOWS THAT PROTESTER PARTICIPATED IN BOTH ORAL AND WRITTEN DISCUSSIONS DURING WHICH AGENCY RAISED ONE OR MORE QUESTIONS RELATED TO DEFICIENCIES FOUND IN PROTESTER'S PROPOSAL. MOREOVER, RECORD DOES NOT SUPPORT PROTESTER'S CONTENTION THAT DISCUSSIONS WERE CONDUCTED IN BIASED AND ARBITRARY MANNER. 2. ALLEGATION THAT AGENCY DEMONSTRATED BIAS IN SELECTION PROCESS IS WITHOUT MERIT WHERE RECORD SHOWS THAT AGENCY REDUCED PROTESTER'S TECHNICAL SCORE BASED ON SPECIFIC DEFICIENCIES FOUND IN BEST AND FINAL OFFER AND ON BASIS OF COMPETITION AVAILABLE IN PROCUREMENT DETERMINED PROTESTER WAS NO LONGER WITHIN COMPETITIVE RANGE. 3. WHERE OFFEROR'S PROPOSAL IS FOUND TO BE TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE, ITS LOWER COST IS IRRELEVANT SINCE OFFEROR IS NO LONGER IN COMPETITIVE RANGE AND CANNOT BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD. 4. ALLEGATIONS FILED MORE THAN 10 WORKING DAYS AFTER BASES OF PROTEST WERE KNOWN OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN KNOWN ARE UNTIMELY AND NOT FOR CONSIDERATION ON MERITS.

DECISION SCIENCES CORPORATION:

DECISION SCIENCES CORPORATION (DSC) PROTESTS THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO REAL ESTATE RESEARCH CORPORATION (RERC) UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. H-6551, ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD). THE PROCUREMENT WAS FOR APPROXIMATELY 10 URBAN IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENTS AND A HANDBOOK ON HOW TO PERFORM SUCH ANALYSES FOR USE BY STATE AND LOCAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES.

DSC'S PRIMARY ALLEGATIONS ARE THAT HUD CONTRACTING AND TECHNICAL PERSONNEL DID NOT ENTER INTO ADEQUATE NEGOTIATIONS WITH DSC AND FAILED TO INFORM DSC AS TO ISSUES OF CONCERN TO HUD; THAT THE HUD PROCUREMENT OFFICE DEMONSTRATED BIAS AND ARBITRARINESS IN THE SELECTION PROCESS; AND THAT DSC'S PROPOSAL WAS JUDGED TO BE ACCEPTABLE AND WAS LOWER PRICED AND MORE COST EFFECTIVE THAN RERC'S.

FOR THE REASONS STATED BELOW, WE DENY THE PROTEST.

WITH REGARD TO DSC'S FIRST ALLEGATION, HUD ADVISES THAT ON JUNE 5, 1980, ORAL DISCUSSIONS WERE HELD WITH DSC AND ALL OTHER OFFERORS WHOSE PROPOSALS WERE FOUND TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE BY THE SOURCE EVALUATION PANEL (SEP). EACH OFFEROR WAS GIVEN APPROXIMATELY ONE HOUR AND 15 MINUTES DURING WHICH TIME THEY WERE QUESTIONED BY THE SEP AND DIRECTED TO DEFICIENCIES IN THEIR PROPOSALS. SUBSEQUENTLY, ON JUNE 10, 1980, EACH FIRM WAS PROVIDED WITH A WRITTEN LIST OF THE SIGNIFICANT QUESTIONS ASKED AT THE ORAL DISCUSSIONS OR CONSIDERED RELEVANT TO ITS PROPOSAL.

DSC CONTENDS, HOWEVER, THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER FAILED TO ADVISE IT OF SPECIFIC DEFICIENCIES, UNCERTAINTIES, OR AMBIGUITIES WHICH WERE THEN USED AS A BASIS FOR ELIMINATING ITS PROPOSAL FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION. DSC BELIEVES THAT THIS CAN BE EASILY DEMONSTRATED BY A THOROUGH REVIEW OF THE SEP'S TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF ITS BEST AND FINAL OFFER WHICH HUD HAS REFUSED TO PROVIDE DSC UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA).

DSC ALSO CONTENDS THAT THE ORAL DISCUSSIONS IT ATTENDED WERE CARRIED OUT IN AN EXTREMELY BIASED MANNER, THAT IT WAS GIVEN ALMOST NO TIME TO RESPOND TO QUESTIONS AND THAT THE MEMBERS OF THE SEP WERE EXTREMELY ANTAGONISTIC TO DSC. DSC STATES THAT IT PROTESTED THIS MATTER TO THE CONTRACT SPECIALIST IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE NEGOTIATIONS AND ALSO TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, WHICH RESULTED IN THE SEP BECOMING EVEN MORE ANTAGONISTIC. DSC ALSO ALLEGES THAT AT THE END OF THE NEGOTIATIONS IT ASKED FOR A WRITTEN LIST OF QUESTIONS AND FOR SPECIFIC GUIDANCE AS TO DEFICIENCIES IN ITS PROPOSAL BUT THAT THESE REQUESTS WERE DENIED BY THE SEP.

MEANINGFUL DISCUSSIONS, EITHER ORAL OR WRITTEN, ARE A REQUIREMENT IN NEGOTIATED FEDERAL PROCUREMENTS. THE GOVERNMENT MUST USUALLY FURNISH INFORMATION TO OFFERORS CONCERNING THE AREAS OF DEFICIENCY IN THEIR PROPOSALS, SO THAT OFFERORS ARE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SOLICITATION. WASSKA TECHNICAL SYSTEMS AND RESEARCH COMPANY, B-189573, AUGUST 10, 1979, 79-2 CPD 110. THERE IS NO FIXED, INFLEXIBLE RULE REGARDING THE REQUIREMENTS FOR DISCUSSION; THE CONTEXT AND EXTENT OF DISCUSSIONS NEEDED TO SATISFY THE REQUIREMENT FOR MEANINGFUL DISCUSSIONS IS A MATTER PRIMARILY FOR DETERMINATION BY THE CONTRACTING ENTITY, WHOSE JUDGMENT WILL NOT BE DISTURBED UNLESS CLEARLY WITHOUT A REASONABLE BASIS. ID.

THE JUNE 10 LETTER, WHICH DSC RESPONDED TO IN ITS BEST AND FINAL OFFER, CONTAINED 18 QUESTIONS, 16 OF WHICH WERE TECHNICALLY ORIENTED. WE NOTE THAT THE LETTER STATES THAT THE QUESTIONS WERE ASKED DURING ORAL INTERVIEWS OR WERE CONSIDERED BY THE SEP AS RELEVANT TO DSC'S PROPOSAL. THE LETTER FURTHER STATES: "IT IS THE OBJECTIVE OF THESE QUESTIONS TO POINT OUT THE DEFICIENCIES THE SEP HAS FOUND IN YOUR PROPOSAL."

AFTER CAREFULLY CONSIDERING THE MATTER, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE QUESTIONS ASKED REASONABLY RELATED TO THE DEFICIENCIES IDENTIFIED IN DSC'S BEST AND FINAL OFFER AND THUS THAT DSC WAS ADEQUATELY INFORMED ABOUT THE AREAS OF ITS PROPOSAL THAT NEEDED IMPROVEMENT OR CLARIFICATION.

SPECIFICALLY, FOR EACH AREA IN WHICH THE SEP FOUND DSC'S BEST AND FINAL OFFER LACKING, ONE OR MORE RELATED QUESTIONS CAN BE FOUND IN THE JUNE 10 LETTER. FOR EXAMPLE, THE SEP FOUND THAT DSC DID NOT HAVE AS EXTENSIVE A DATA BASE AS IT SEEMED FROM THE ORIGINAL PROPOSAL. QUESTION 10 OF THE JUNE 10 LETTER READ AS FOLLOWS: "YOU SUGGEST USING THE DSC DATA BASE. WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT IS CONTAINED IN THAT DATA BASE?" THE SEP ALSO FOUND INAPPROPRIATE DSC'S PLAN TO "ASSIGN OVERALL DIRECTION FOR THE HANDBOOK TO AN ACADEMIC WHO WILL HAVE NO OTHER INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROJECT *** AND WHO HAS MANY EXISTING COMMITMENTS." QUESTION 17 OF THE JUNE 10 LETTER STATED: "YOU PROPOSED THAT JOHN DOE WILL PREPARE THE HANDBOOK. GIVEN HIS OTHER OBLIGATIONS, EXPLAIN HOW HE WILL BE ABLE TO PERFORM THIS TASK IN A TIMELY MANNER."

IN ADDITION, THE SEP FOUND THAT DSC'S PROPOSAL WAS WEAK IN SEVERAL AREAS RELATED TO ITS APPROACH TO PREPARING THE REQUIRED URBAN IMPACT ANALYSES, INCLUDING ITS UNDERSTANDING OF SOME ASPECTS OF THE TASKS TO BE PERFORMED. QUESTIONS RELATED TO EACH OF THESE AREAS APPEAR IN THE JUNE 10 LETTER.

WITH REGARD TO DSC'S CONTENTION THAT THE ORAL DISCUSSIONS WERE CONDUCTED IN A BIASED AND ANTAGONISTIC MANNER, WE NOTE THAT THE PROTESTER HAS THE BURDEN OF AFFIRMATIVELY PROVING ITS CASE AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THE RECORD TO SUPPORT THIS ALLEGATION. IT IS NOT OUR PRACTICE TO CONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS INCIDENT TO A BID PROTEST TO ESTABLISH THE VALIDITY OF A PROTESTER'S BARE STATEMENTS. KAMEX CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, B-196346, FEBRUARY 20, 1980, 80-1 CPD 148.

DSC HAS ALSO ALLEGED THAT DURING ORAL DISCUSSIONS, THE SEP REFUSED ITS REQUEST FOR A WRITTEN LIST OF QUESTIONS AND FOR SPECIFIC GUIDANCE AS TO DEFICIENCIES IN ITS PROPOSAL. WE NOTE THAT WHATEVER MAY HAVE TRANSPIRED AT THE DISCUSSIONS IN THIS REGARD, DSC WAS IN FACT SUPPLIED WITH A LIST OF QUESTIONS RELATED TO THE SPECIFIC DEFICIENCIES FOUND IN ITS PROPOSAL, AS EVIDENCED BY THE JUNE 10 LETTER DISCUSSED ABOVE. ACCORDINGLY, THIS ALLEGATION PROVIDES NO BASIS TO CONCLUDE THAT THE DISCUSSIONS WITH DSC WERE NOT MEANINGFUL.

DSC'S SECOND BASIS OF PROTEST IS THAT THE HUD PROCUREMENT OFFICE DEMONSTRATED BIAS AND ARBITRARINESS IN THE SELECTION PROCESS. THE MAJOR SUPPORT FOR THIS ALLEGATION APPEARS TO STEM FROM THE FACT THAT ALTHOUGH THE SEP INITIALLY FOUND DSC'S PROPOSAL WITHIN THE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE RANGE, AFTER EVALUATING DSC'S BEST AND FINAL OFFER, THE SEP FOUND IT TO BE TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

HUD DEFENDS ITS DETERMINATION BY STATING THAT THE DECISIONS OF THE SEP AND THE HUD PROCUREMENT OFFICE WERE CONSISTENT WITH HUD PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS AND BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, AND THAT THE EVALUATION OF DSC WAS IN CONFORMITY WITH THE EVALUATION FACTORS SET FORTH IN THE RFP.

DSC ASSERTS, HOWEVER, THAT THE SEP ARBITRARILY AND CAPRICIOUSLY ELIMINATED IT FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION AND THAT PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THIS IS THE FACT THAT HUD HAS REFUSED TO PROVIDE DSC WITH ANY BASIS FOR ITS DECISION. (THIS IS AN APPARENT REFERENCE TO HUD'S DENIAL OF DSC'S FOIA REQUEST FOR ALL INFORMATION RELEVANT TO THE EVALUATION OF ITS PROPOSAL.) DSC BELIEVES THAT IT IS CLEAR THE SEP'S DECISION WAS NOT BASED ON STRICT CONFORMITY WITH THE EVALUATION FACTORS SET FORTH IN THE RFP BECAUSE SUCH INFORMATION COULD EASILY BE PROVIDED TO DSC. DSC ALSO BELIEVES THAT THE RECORD WILL CLEARLY DEMONSTRATE THAT "PERSONAL CAPRICIOUS BIAS" AND ARBITRARY ACTION ON THE PART OF THE SEP LED TO THE FINDING OF TECHNICAL UNACCEPTABILITY.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE FIVE PROPOSALS INITIALLY DETERMINED TO BE WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE WERE RANKED AS FOLLOWS:

OFFEROR SCORE

ABT ASSOCIATES 83 RERC 83 BARTON-ASCHMAN 78 DECISION SCIENCES 77 ECONOMIC RESEARCH ASSOCIATES 75

AFTER ORAL DISCUSSIONS WERE HELD AND BEST AND FINAL OFFERS RECEIVED AND EVALUATED, THE PROPOSALS WERE RERANKED IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER:

OFFEROR SCORE

RERC 89 BARTON-ASCHMAN 84 DECISION SCIENCES 71 ECONOMIC RESEARCH ASSOCIATES 69 ABT ASSOCIATES 67

THE SEP CONCLUDED THAT ONLY THE PROPOSALS SUBMITTED BY RERC AND BARTON- ASCHMAN WERE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE AND RECOMMENDED CONTRACT AWARD TO RERC, THE LOWER PRICED OF THE TWO. IN ADDITION, THE SEP RECOMMENDED THAT IF A CONTRACT COULD NOT BE SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATED WITH EITHER OFFEROR, THE RFP SHOULD BE CANCELED.

IN REVIEWING A PROCURING AGENCY'S EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL PROPOSALS, WE WILL NOT SUBSTITUTE OUR JUDGMENT FOR THE AGENCY'S DETERMINATION OF WHICH PROPOSALS ARE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE UNLESS IT IS SHOWN TO BE ARBITRARY OR IN VIOLATION OF PROCUREMENT STATUTES OR REGULATIONS. SDC INTEGRATED SERVICES, INC., B-195624, JANUARY 15, 1980, 80-1 CPD 44. AN AGENCY DOES NOT ACT ARBITRARILY JUST BECAUSE IT REDUCES AN OFFEROR'S TECHNICAL SCORE AFTER THE FINAL TECHNICAL EVALUATION. BUFFALO ORGANIZATION FOR SOCIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION, INC., B-196279, FEBRUARY 7, 1980, 80-1 CPD 107. NOR DOES AN AGENCY ACT ARBITRARILY SIMPLY BECAUSE IT FINDS A PROPOSAL WHICH WAS INITIALLY DETERMINED TO BE WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE TO BE TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE AFTER EVALUATION OF THE BEST AND FINAL OFFER. SEE ARTHUR YOUNG & COMPANY, B-196220, MARCH 17, 1980, 80-1 CPD 205; CENTURY BRASS PRODUCTS, INC., B-190313, APRIL 17, 1978, 78-1 CPD 291. EACH EVALUATION IS SEPARATE AND ONLY THE RESULTS OF EACH EVALUATION ARE RELATIVE. WASSKA TECHNICAL SYSTEMS AND RESEARCH COMPANY, SUPRA.

WHILE THE RECORD DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY SPECIFIC REASONS FOR THE REDUCTION IN DSC'S SCORE AFTER THE FINAL TECHNICAL EVALUATION, IT DOES CONTAIN A STATEMENT OF THE SPECIFIC WEAKNESSES WHICH THE EVALUATORS FOUND IN DSC'S BEST AND FINAL OFFER. THESE INCLUDED FINDINGS THAT DSC'S DATA BASE DID NOT APPEAR AS EXTENSIVE AS IT SEEMED FROM THE ORIGINAL PROPOSAL AND THAT ITS PROPOSED METHODOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES DID NOT APPEAR TO DIFFER SIGNIFICANTLY FROM THOSE PROPOSED BY OTHERS DESPITE DSC'S EMPHASIS ON THE UNIQUENESS OF ITS MODELS. THUS, IT APPEARS THAT THE DECREASE IN DSC'S SCORE WAS IN PART DUE TO THE SEP'S CONCLUSION THAT SOME OF ITS FAVORABLE IMPRESSIONS CONCERNING DSC'S INITIAL PROPOSAL WERE NOT BORNE OUT BY DSC'S BEST AND FINAL OFFER.

IN ADDITION, AS NOTED IN OUR DISCUSSION OF THE ADEQUACY OF THE NEGOTIATIONS CONDUCTED WITH DSC, THE WEAKNESSES FOUND IN DSC'S BEST AND FINAL OFFER RELATED TO QUESTIONS RAISED BY THE SEP DURING ORAL AND WRITTEN DISCUSSIONS AND THUS WERE AREAS IN WHICH THE SEP HAD EVIDENTLY ALWAYS FELT DSC'S PROPOSAL WAS DEFICIENT. IT IS APPARENT THAT THE SEP CONCLUDED DSC HAD NOT ADEQUATELY SATISFIED ITS CONCERNS IN THESE AREAS AND THAT IT REDUCED DSC'S TECHNICAL SCORE ACCORDINGLY.

AS A RESULT OF THE REDUCTIONS IN ITS TECHNICAL SCORE, WHICH TOOK PLACE AFTER THE FINAL TECHNICAL EVALUATION, DSC FELL 13 POINTS BELOW THE NEXT HIGHEST RATED OFFEROR BUT ONLY 4 POINTS ABOVE THE LOWEST RATED OFFEROR. CONSEQUENTLY, ON THE BASIS OF THE COMPETITION AVAILABLE IN THE PROCUREMENT, THE SEP IN EFFECT DETERMINED THAT ON A RELATIVE BASIS, DSC'S PROPOSAL AND THOSE RANKED BELOW IT WERE NO LONGER IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE. WE HAVE APPROVED THIS "RELATIVE" APPROACH TO DETERMINE THE COMPETITIVE RANGE BASED UPON THE ARRAY OF SCORES ACTUALLY OBTAINED BY THE OFFERORS. ART ANDERSON ASSOCIATES, B-193054, JANUARY 29, 1980, 80-1 CPD 77; B-171857, MAY 24, 1971.

BASED ON THE ABOVE, WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE SEP'S EVALUATION OF DSC'S BEST AND FINAL OFFER OR ITS FINDING OF TECHNICAL UNACCEPTABILITY WAS ARBITRARY OR IN VIOLATION OF PROCUREMENT STATUTES OR REGULATIONS. ADDITION, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD TO SUPPORT DSC'S ALLEGATION THAT THE DETERMINATIONS WERE THE RESULT OF BIAS ON THE PART OF THE SEP OR THE HUD PROCUREMENT OFFICE.

WE ARE ALSO SATISFIED THAT THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EVALUATION CRITERIA SET FORTH IN THE RFP. THESE WERE: A. ORGANIZATIONAL EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS (25 POINTS); B. QUALIFICATIONS OF KEY PERSONNEL (40 POINTS); C. THE QUALITY OF THE PROPOSAL (40 POINTS); D. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (10 POINTS). WE BELIEVE THAT THE SPECIFIC WEAKNESSES IDENTIFIED BY THE SEP IN DSC'S BEST AND FINAL OFFER CLEARLY RELATE TO THE ESTABLISHED EVALUATION FACTORS. MOREOVER, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD TO SUPPORT A FINDING THAT THE EVALUATION WAS BASED ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN THESE CRITERIA.

ALTHOUGH DSC APPARENTLY BELIEVES HUD'S DENIAL OF ITS FOIA REQUEST DEMONSTRATES THAT THE EVALUATION WAS NOT BASED ON THE PUBLISHED CRITERIA AND WAS OTHERWISE ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS, WE DISAGREE. HUD DETERMINED THAT THE DOCUMENTS REQUESTED BY DSC ARE EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER FOIA AND WE FAIL TO SEE HOW SUCH A DETERMINATION, WHICH WE MUST ASSUME WAS BASED ON THE APPLICABLE STATUTORY STANDARDS, EVIDENCES ARBITRARY ACTION IN THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT. IN ANY EVENT, THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF AN AGENCY'S RESPONSE TO A REQUEST UNDER FOIA IS NOT A MATTER FOR OUR CONSIDERATION. CAROL L. BENDER, M.D.; NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC., B-196912, B-196287, APRIL 1, 1980, 80-1 CPD 243. DSC'S THIRD ALLEGATION IS THAT ITS PROPOSAL WAS FOUND TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE AND WAS LOWER-PRICED AND MORE COST EFFECTIVE THAN THE PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY THE ORGANIZATION SELECTED.

HUD POINTS OUT, HOWEVER, THAT DSC'S BEST AND FINAL PROPOSAL WAS IN FACT FOUND NOT TO BE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE. HUD FURTHER STATES, IN RELIANCE ON PRIOR DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE, THAT BECAUSE DSC'S PROPOSAL WAS FOUND UNACCEPTABLE, ITS COST AND PRICE ARE IRRELEVANT.

WE AGREE WITH HUD. WE HAVE HELD THAT WHERE, AS HERE, AN OFFEROR'S PROPOSAL IS PROPERLY FOUND TO BE TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE, ITS LOWER COST IS IRRELEVANT SINCE THAT OFFER IS NO LONGER WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE AND CANNOT BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD. LOGICON, INC., B-196105, MARCH 25, 1980, 80-1 CPD 218. WHILE DSC ARGUES THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATED THAT "COST" AND OTHER FACTORS WOULD BE CONSIDERED IN THE FINAL EVALUATION, THE QUESTION OF COST MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHETHER AN OFFEROR IS IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE UNLESS THE OFFER IS FIRST DEEMED TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE. PACIFIC TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CORPORATION, B-182742, JULY 9, 1975, 75-2 CPD 22.

IN ADDITION, DSC CITES OUR DECISION IN COMPUTER DATA SYSTEMS, INC., B-187892, JUNE 2, 1977, 77-1 CPD 384, FOR THE PROPOSITION THAT A CONTRACTING OFFICER CANNOT RELY ON PURELY SUBJECTIVE AND QUALITATIVE TECHNICAL EVALUATIONS IF A SIGNIFICANT PRICE ADVANTAGE, SUCH AS THAT OFFERED BY DSC, EXISTS. THIS RELIANCE IS MISPLACED. COMPUTER DATA SYSTEMS STANDS FOR THE PRINCIPLE THAT WHERE TWO PROPOSALS ARE FOUND TO BE ESSENTIALLY EQUAL TECHNICALLY, TECHNICAL EVALUATION CRITERIA, NO MATTER HOW HEAVILY WEIGHTED, DO NOT PROVIDE A MEANINGFUL BASIS FOR CONTRACTOR SELECTION, LEAVING PRICE AS A DETERMINATIVE FACTOR. COMPUTER DATA SYSTEMS, INC. - RECONSIDERATION, B-187892, AUGUST 2, 1977, 77-2 CPD 67. SINCE DSC'S PROPOSAL WAS FOUND TO BE TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE, THE ENUNCIATED PRINCIPLE IS NOT FOR APPLICATION HERE.

FINALLY, DSC RAISES ADDITIONAL ALLEGATIONS IN LETTERS FILED SEVERAL MONTHS AFTER ITS ORIGINAL PROTEST WAS FILED. WE CONSIDER THESE ALLEGATIONS TO BE UNTIMELY FILED UNDER OUR BID PROTEST PROCEDURES, 4 C.F.R. SEC. 20.2(B)(2) (1980), AND WE WILL THEREFORE NOT CONSIDER THEM.

THE PROTEST IS DENIED IN PART AND DISMISSED IN PART.