B-214528, JUL 2, 1984, 84-2 CPD 5

B-214528: Jul 2, 1984

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CONTRACTS - PROTESTS - GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE PROCEDURES - TIMELINESS OF PROTEST - FAILURE TO DILIGENTLY PURSUE PROTEST DIGEST: WHERE POTENTIAL PROTESTER HAS FAILED TO DILIGENTLY SEEK INFORMATION THAT WILL FORM THE BASIS FOR ITS PROTEST. GAO WILL DISMISS ULTIMATELY-FILED PROTEST AS UNTIMELY. NVCC WILL PROVIDE A BASIC EDUCATIONAL SKILLS PROGRAM AT THE ARMY ENGINEERING CENTER. RMHS REQUESTED A DEBRIEFING WHICH WAS HELD ON FEBRUARY 22. REQUIRE PROTESTS TO BE FILED WITHIN 10 DAYS AFTER THE BASIS FOR THEM IS KNOWN OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN KNOWN. WHILE RMHS' PROTEST TO OUR OFFICE WAS FILED WITHIN 10 WORKING DAYS OF ITS DEBRIEFING. SINCE THE PROTESTER WAS TIMELY NOTIFIED OF THE AWARD IN EARLY OCTOBER.

B-214528, JUL 2, 1984, 84-2 CPD 5

CONTRACTS - PROTESTS - GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE PROCEDURES - TIMELINESS OF PROTEST - FAILURE TO DILIGENTLY PURSUE PROTEST DIGEST: WHERE POTENTIAL PROTESTER HAS FAILED TO DILIGENTLY SEEK INFORMATION THAT WILL FORM THE BASIS FOR ITS PROTEST, AS BY NOT REQUESTING A DEBRIEFING UNTIL 3 MONTHS AFTER NOTIFICATION OF THE AWARD AND 2 MONTHS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE AGENCY'S RESPONSE TO ITS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST, GAO WILL DISMISS ULTIMATELY-FILED PROTEST AS UNTIMELY.

RICHARD M. MILBURN HIGH SCHOOL FOR ADULTS, INC.:

RICHARD M. MILBURN HIGH SCHOOL FOR ADULTS, INC. (RMHS) PROTESTS THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT BY THE ARMY ENGINEERING CENTER, FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA TO NORTHERN VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE (NVCC) UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. DABT56-83-R-0072. NVCC WILL PROVIDE A BASIC EDUCATIONAL SKILLS PROGRAM AT THE ARMY ENGINEERING CENTER. WE DISMISS THE PROTEST.

RMHS CONTENDS THAT THE ARMY IMPROPERLY EVALUATED PROPOSALS BY, AMONG OTHER THINGS, CONSIDERING INFORMATION FROM SOURCES OUTSIDE THE NORMAL EVALUATION CHANNELS. THE ARMY AWARDED THE CONTRACT TO NVCC ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1983, AND TELEPHONICALLY SO NOTIFIED RMHS AT THAT TIME. ON OCTOBER 11, RMHS FILED A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA) REQUEST WITH THE ARMY SEEKING THE DISCLOSURE OF MATERIALS RELATING TO THE ARMY'S EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS. ON NOVEMBER 2, RMHS REQUESTED ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM THE ARMY. BY LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 15, THE ARMY PROVIDED VARIOUS MATERIALS CONCERNING THE EVALUATION, INCLUDING AN ABSTRACT OF PROPOSALS AND TECHNICAL SCORING RESULTS. ON JANUARY 5, APPROXIMATELY 2 MONTHS AFTER RECEIPT OF THIS INFORMATION, RMHS REQUESTED A DEBRIEFING WHICH WAS HELD ON FEBRUARY 22. RMHS FILED ITS PROTEST WITH OUR OFFICE ON MARCH 1.

OUR BID PROTEST PROCEDURES, 4 C.F.R. SEC. 21.2 (1984), REQUIRE PROTESTS TO BE FILED WITHIN 10 DAYS AFTER THE BASIS FOR THEM IS KNOWN OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN KNOWN. WHILE RMHS' PROTEST TO OUR OFFICE WAS FILED WITHIN 10 WORKING DAYS OF ITS DEBRIEFING, WE DO NOT CONSIDER IT TIMELY.

AS INDICATED ABOVE, RMHS WAITED MORE THAN 3 MONTHS AFTER NOTIFICATION OF THE AWARD AND APPROXIMATELY 2 MONTHS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE ARMY'S FOIA RESPONSE TO REQUEST A DEBRIEFING. IN THIS REGARD, THE PROTESTER APPARENTLY JUSTIFIES ITS LATE FILING ON THE FACT THAT IT DID NOT RECEIVE OFFICIAL WRITTEN NOTIFICATION OF THE AWARD UNTIL DECEMBER 8. HOWEVER, SINCE THE PROTESTER WAS TIMELY NOTIFIED OF THE AWARD IN EARLY OCTOBER, WE ATTACH NO SIGNIFICANCE TO THE ARMY'S BELATED WRITTEN NOTIFICATION OF AWARD AND DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT PROVIDES A REASONABLE BASIS FOR DELAYING A REQUEST FOR A DEBRIEFING. IN THIS CONNECTION, WE HAVE STATED THAT PROTESTERS MUST DILIGENTLY PURSUE INFORMATION THAT FORMS THE BASIS OF A PROTEST, AND IF THEY DO NOT DO SO WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME, OUR OFFICE WILL DISMISS AN ULTIMATELY-FILED PROTEST AS UNTIMELY. SEE MITEK SYSTEMS, INC., B-208786, SEPT. 24, 1982, 82-2 CPD PARA. 274. WE BELIEVE THIS IS SUCH A CASE.

THE PROTEST IS DISMISSED.