B-234885.2, Jul 19, 1989, 89-2 CPD 60

B-234885.2: Jul 19, 1989

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PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - GAO decisions - Reconsideration DIGEST: Request for reconsideration of dismissal of protest challenging denial of certificate of competency (COC) by the Small Business Administration is denied where the protester merely reiterates assertion made in its initial protest and does not show that government officials acted fraudulently or in bad faith in connection with the denial of the COC. At the time DLA and SBA were investigating AIW's responsibility. AIW was classified as a "Method C quality deficient" contractor. That it was about to be removed from Method C status. Contends that it would have been found responsible if DLA and SBA had waited to conduct their respective responsibility investigations until after it had been removed.

B-234885.2, Jul 19, 1989, 89-2 CPD 60

PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - GAO decisions - Reconsideration DIGEST: Request for reconsideration of dismissal of protest challenging denial of certificate of competency (COC) by the Small Business Administration is denied where the protester merely reiterates assertion made in its initial protest and does not show that government officials acted fraudulently or in bad faith in connection with the denial of the COC.

AIW-Alton Iron Works, Inc.-- Request for Reconsideration:

AIW-Alton Iron Works, Inc., requests reconsideration of our March 23, 1989, dismissal of its protest under invitation for bids (IFB) No. DLA400- 88-B-3836, issued by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for tensiometers. AIW challenges the Small Business Administration's (SBA) refusal to issue the firm a certificate of competency (COC) based on its findings concerning the firm's unsatisfactory quality and delinquent performance. We dismissed the protest because generally our Office does not review denials of COCs by SBA. See 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.3(m)(3) (1988).

In its request for reconsideration, AIW basically reiterates the assertion that it made in its initial protest. According to AIW, at the time DLA and SBA were investigating AIW's responsibility, AIW was classified as a "Method C quality deficient" contractor. (As we understand it, the Method C classification refers to AIW's participation in a program to correct problems with its contract performance.) AIW states, however, that it was about to be removed from Method C status, and contends that it would have been found responsible if DLA and SBA had waited to conduct their respective responsibility investigations until after it had been removed. We deny the request for reconsideration.

SBA, not our Office, has the statutory authority to review a contracting officer's negative finding of responsibility and then to determine conclusively a small business concern's responsibility. Eagle Bob Tail Tractors, Inc., B-232346.2, Jan. 4, 1989, 89-1 CPD Para. 5. Our Office will not review such matters unless the protester makes a showing that either government officials may have acted fraudulently or in bad faith, or failed to consider vital information bearing on the firm's responsibility. Franklin Wire & Cable Co.-- Reconsideration, B-218557.2 et al., June 5, 1985, 85-1 CPD Para. 644.

Here, AIW did not allege and there is no indication in the record that SBA acted in bad faith or failed to consider relevant information in connection with the denial of the COC. On the contrary, AIW concedes that it was still in Method C status when DLA and SBA were performing their investigations, and AIW does not challenge their reliance on its Method C status as a basis for finding the firm nonresponsible. Further, we see no basis to conclude that DLA or SBA were required to suspend their determinations in the anticipation that AIW would at some future date be removed from Method C status. Moreover, once AIW advised DLA that it had been removed from Method C status, DLA reconsidered its determination in light of this information and again concluded that AIW was nonresponsible based on an unacceptable delinquency rate and quality deficiency reports on material delivered by the firm which had not been resolved. While AIW appears to disagree with DLA regarding the significance of the quality deficiency reports, AIW has made no showing that DLA's determination was made in bad faith. See AquaSciences Int'l, Inc.-- Request for Reconsideration, B-225452.2, Feb. 5, 1987, 87-1 CPD Para. 127.

Since the protester has not shown that our dismissal of its protest was erroneous, the request for reconsideration is denied.