B-234740.4, Jul 10, 1989, 89-2 CPD ***

B-234740.4: Jul 10, 1989

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PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - GAO decisions - Reconsideration - Comments timeliness PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - Administrative reports - Comments timeliness DIGEST: A protest that was dismissed because protester failed to contact the General Accounting Office within 10 working days after receipt of agency report. Requirement in the Regulations that protester express continued interest in pursuing the protest after having opportunity to read agency report ensures that resources of our Office will not be occupied with a protest about whose merits the protester has changed his mind after reading the agency report. House of Representatives: This is in response to your letter of June 2.

B-234740.4, Jul 10, 1989, 89-2 CPD ***

PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - GAO decisions - Reconsideration - Comments timeliness PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - Administrative reports - Comments timeliness DIGEST: A protest that was dismissed because protester failed to contact the General Accounting Office within 10 working days after receipt of agency report, as required by Bid Protest Regulations, may not be reopened and considered on the merits; requirement in the Regulations that protester express continued interest in pursuing the protest after having opportunity to read agency report ensures that resources of our Office will not be occupied with a protest about whose merits the protester has changed his mind after reading the agency report.

Honorable Bill Emerson

Member, U.S. House of Representatives:

This is in response to your letter of June 2, 1989, regarding a protest filed by Reynolds Bros. Lumber and Logging Co. in connection with the Forest Service's award of the Swift Creek II timber sale contract. You express concern that Reynolds' protest, although valid, was not afforded a full review on the merits, but instead was dismissed on procedural grounds.

We dismissed the protest on May 1, 1989, because Reynolds failed to comply with a provision of our Bid Protest Regulations requiring a protester to contact our Office within 10 working days after our receipt of the agency report, in order to express continued interest in pursuing the protest. We affirmed the dismissal in a decision issued on May 16, 1989.

Our Bid Protest Regulations, prescribed under the authority of the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA), are designed to enable us to comply with the statute's mandate that we resolve bid protests expeditiously. light of CICA's requirement that we issue a final decision 90 days after a protest is filed, and to assure that government procurements are not burdened by protests that the parties no longer have an interest in pursuing, our Regulations require the protester to express continued interest in pursuing the protest after the report has been submitted. The requirement is necessary, because it has been our experience that protesters often change their view of the merits after reading the agency report, and decide not to pursue the protest further; the requirement thus prevents delays to the procurement process that would occur if we were to prepare decisions on the merits in matters that protesters were no longer interested in pursuing.

As we stated in the enclosed decision, we consider legal objections to government contract awards to be serious matters. At stake are the rights and interests not only of the protester, but of the contracting agency and other interested parties as well. Effective and equitable procedural standards are necessary to provide parties a fair opportunity to present their cases and to assure that protests are resolved in a reasonably speedy manner. Accordingly, our Regulations impose strict time standards. Waiving these standards would undermine the purposes they are intended to promote. Thus, while it is unfortunate that Reynolds did not comply with our procedural rules because apparently it did not understand their import, we cannot consider the merits of its protest.

Unless you publicly release its contents earlier, we will not distribute this letter until 30 days from the date of issuance. At that time, we will send copies to interested parties and make copies available to others on request.