B-206938.3,L/M, MAY 13, 1982

B-206938.3,L/M: May 13, 1982

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR APRIL 15. DETERMINATION THAT YOUR PROTEST CONCERNING SOLICITATION FOR OFFERS MPA81712 WAS UNTIMELY. WE HAVE REVIEWED THIS MATTER AND AFFIRM OUR PRIOR DETERMINATION. PROTESTS AGAINST THE AWARD OF A GOVERNMENT CONTRACT ARE VERY SERIOUS MATTERS. TIMELINESS STANDARDS FOR THE FILING OF PROTESTS MUST BE AND ARE STRICTLY CONSTRUED BY OUR OFFICE. FOR THIS PROTEST TO HAVE BEEN TIMELY. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN FILED WITH OUR OFFICE WITHIN 10 WORKING DAYS OF INITIAL ADVERSE AGENCY ACTION. 4 C.F.R. WHILE YOUR CONSTITUENT WAS ATTEMPTING TO RESOLVE THE MATTER DIRECTLY WITH GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA). OUR PROCEDURES AND THEIR TIME CONSTRAINTS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER AND PROTESTERS ARE CHARGED WITH CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF THEIR CONTENTS.

B-206938.3,L/M, MAY 13, 1982

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

DON RITTER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR APRIL 15, 1982, LETTER REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR APRIL 12, 1982, DETERMINATION THAT YOUR PROTEST CONCERNING SOLICITATION FOR OFFERS MPA81712 WAS UNTIMELY. WE HAVE REVIEWED THIS MATTER AND AFFIRM OUR PRIOR DETERMINATION.

PROTESTS AGAINST THE AWARD OF A GOVERNMENT CONTRACT ARE VERY SERIOUS MATTERS, WHICH DESERVE THE IMMEDIATE AND TIMELY ATTENTION OF THE PROTESTER, INTERESTED PARTIES AND THE CONTRACTING AGENCY. OUR BID PROTEST PROCEDURES (PROCEDURES), 4 C.F.R. SEC. 21 (1981), ESTABLISH AN ORDERLY PROCESS TO INSURE EQUITABLE AND PROMPT RESOLUTION OF PROTESTS. THEREFORE, TIMELINESS STANDARDS FOR THE FILING OF PROTESTS MUST BE AND ARE STRICTLY CONSTRUED BY OUR OFFICE. SEE CESSNA AIRCRAFT COMPANY, 54 COMP.GEN. 97 (1974), 74-2 CPD 91. FOR THIS PROTEST TO HAVE BEEN TIMELY, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN FILED WITH OUR OFFICE WITHIN 10 WORKING DAYS OF INITIAL ADVERSE AGENCY ACTION. 4 C.F.R. SEC. 21.2(A).

WHILE YOUR CONSTITUENT WAS ATTEMPTING TO RESOLVE THE MATTER DIRECTLY WITH GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA), FOLLOWING THE INITIAL ADVERSE AGENCY ACTION, THIS DOES NOT CHANGE OUR PRIOR DECISION SINCE CONTINUING DISCUSSIONS OR APPEALING AN ADVERSE DECISION DOES NOT AFFECT GAO'S TIME REQUIREMENTS. SEE NATIONAL FLOORING COMPANY, B-190468, NOVEMBER 17, 1977, 77-2 CPD 381.

EVEN THOUGH YOU AND YOUR CONSTITUENT JUST RECENTLY BECAME AWARE OF OUR PROCEDURES, THIS LACK OF KNOWLEDGE CANNOT INFLUENCE OUR DECISION. OUR PROCEDURES AND THEIR TIME CONSTRAINTS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER AND PROTESTERS ARE CHARGED WITH CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF THEIR CONTENTS. U. S. AIR TOOL CO., INC., B-192042, AUGUST 31, 1978, 78-2 CPD 161. YOU ALSO POINT OUT THAT GSA DID NOT ADVISE YOU OF THE 10 DAY FILING REQUIREMENT EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE IN CONSTANT CONTACT WITH GSA CONCERNING THE PROTEST TO THAT AGENCY. WHILE WE CAN UNDERSTAND YOUR FRUSTRATION, WE HOPE THAT YOU APPRECIATE OUR POSITION IN THIS INSTANCE. THAT IS, WE CANNOT HAVE THE TIMELINESS OF PROTESTS FILED WITH OUR OFFICE DEPEND UPON WHETHER A PARTICULAR AGENCY HAS SEEN FIT TO ADVISE A PARTY OF THE GAO PROCEDURES IN THE ABSENCE OF A REGULATION REQUIRING SUCH NOTIFICATION.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR REQUEST THAT WE REVIEW THIS MATTER BECAUSE IT HAS SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE SENIOR CITIZEN COMMUNITY OF LEHIGH COUNTY, OUR PROCEDURES PROVIDE TWO EXCEPTIONS TO OUR TIMELINESS REQUIREMENTS. SECTION 4 C.F.R. 21.2(C) STATES:

"THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, FOR GOOD CAUSE SHOWN, OR WHERE HE DETERMINES THAT A PROTEST RAISES ISSUES SIGNIFICANT TO PROCUREMENT PRACTICES OR PROCEDURES, MAY CONSIDER ANY PROTEST WHICH IS NOT FILED TIMELY."

"GOOD CAUSE" GENERALLY REFERS TO SOME COMPELLING REASON, BEYOND THE PROTESTER'S CONTROL, WHICH PREVENTED IT FROM FILING A TIMELY PROTEST. COMP.GEN. 20, 23 (1972); LEASCO INFORMATION PRODUCTS, INC., 53 COMP.GEN. 932, 947 (1974), 74-1 CPD 314. THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT ANY SUPERVENING CIRCUMSTANCE PREVENTED YOUR CONSTITUENT FROM FILING A TIMELY PROTEST.

WE HAVE RECOGNIZED THAT "ISSUES SIGNIFICANT TO PROCUREMENT PRACTICES OR PROCEDURES" ARE LIMITED TO COMMUNITY GENERALLY. 52 COMP.GEN. 20, 23; THOSE ISSUES OF WIDESPREAD INTEREST TO THE PROCUREMENT LEASCO, SUPRA, AT 947-948; FAIRCHILD INDUSTRIES, INC., B-184655, OCTOBER 30, 1975, 75-2 CPD 264; COMTEN, B-185394, FEBRUARY 24, 1976, 76-1 CPD 130. THIS PROTEST DOES NOT COME WITHIN THE LIMITED DEFINITION OF A "SIGNIFICANT ISSUE."

THEREFORE, OUR PRIOR DETERMINATION IS AFFIRMED.