Protests of Army Procurement

B-204704.2,B-204704.3,B-205374,B-205374.2: Jun 4, 1982

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Three firms protested an Army procurement of trash collection services. The original solicitation was canceled because of an apparent ambiguity in the award criteria, and the requirement was resolicited. The first protester argued that there was no ambiguity in the original solicitation and, therefore, it should be reinstated and the award made to it. The second two protesters contended that the contracting officer's determination to cancel the original solicitation was proper. Further, they both contended that if the original solicitation was reinstated, the first protester's bid should be rejected as unbalanced. The original solicitation requested alternative methods of performing the contract and indicated that the award would be made to the lowest bidder. While the contracting officer concluded that the award criteria were ambiguous since they did not specify how the agency would decide between the low bidder on each method, GAO concluded that the only reasonable interpretation was that the award would be made to the low bidder on the alternative chosen. Since bidders were on notice that the agency would be choosing between alternative methods, the award criteria encouraged bidders to bid the lowest prices, and all bidders bid on both alternates, no bidder was prejudiced by this method of procurement. Therefore, no compelling reason to cancel the solicitation existed. There was no clause in the solicitation which prohibited unbalanced bidding; however, the solicitation did contain a detailed award clause which stated how the low bidder would be determined. Under that clause, the first protester was evaluated as the low bidder and in line for the award. GAO concluded that the original solicitation should be reinstated and that the award should be made to the first protester. Since the bids under the resolicitation had not been opened, GAO held that it should be canceled.