B-236792.2, Oct 10, 1989, 89-2 CPD 334

B-236792.2: Oct 10, 1989

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PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - Protest timeliness - Significant issue exemptions - Applicability DIGEST: The General Accounting Office (GAO) will not invoke the significant issue exception under its Bid Protest Regulations in order to review an untimely protest that raises an issue which GAO has previously considered on the merits. Which are subsequently incorporated in the solicitation. Its protest was dismissed as untimely. Exceptions are strictly construed and rarely used. The only exceptions to our Regulations' timeliness requirements are where there was good cause for the untimely filing some compelling reason beyond the protester's control prevented the protester from filing a timely protest.

B-236792.2, Oct 10, 1989, 89-2 CPD 334

PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - Protest timeliness - Significant issue exemptions - Applicability DIGEST: The General Accounting Office (GAO) will not invoke the significant issue exception under its Bid Protest Regulations in order to review an untimely protest that raises an issue which GAO has previously considered on the merits.

Brandebury Aerostructures Incorporated-- Request for Reconsideration:

Brandebury Aerostructures Incorporated requests reconsideration of our September 7, 1989, dismissal as untimely of its protest under request for proposals No. N00164-89-R-0464, issued by the Naval Weapons Support Center, Crane, Indiana, for EXDRONE unmanned air vehicles.

We affirm the dismissal.

Brandebury protested, among other things, that the Navy wrongfully disclosed Brandebury's trade secrets and other proprietary data to all of its competitors at a May 25, 1989, pre-proposal conference announced in amendment 1 to the solicitation. Our Bid Protest Regulations require that alleged improprieties which do not exist in the initial solicitation, but which are subsequently incorporated in the solicitation, must be protested not later than the next closing date for receipt of proposals following the incorporation. 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.2(a)(1) (1989); PanAm World Servs., Inc., et al., B-231840 et al., Nov. 7, 1988, 88-2 CPD Para. 446. Since Brandebury did not protest the disclosure of information to offerors until after contract award, its protest was dismissed as untimely.

In its request for reconsideration, Brandebury argues that we should consider its protest because the protest raises concerns regarding the practices and procedures government agencies use regarding contractor's rights in operation, processes and subcontractors.

Our timeliness rules reflect the dual requirement of giving parties a fair opportunity to present their cases and resolving protests expeditiously without unduly disrupting or delaying the procurement process. Grant Technical Servs., B-235231.2, May 26, 1989, 89-1 CPD Para. 514. In order to prevent those rules from becoming meaningless, exceptions are strictly construed and rarely used. The only exceptions to our Regulations' timeliness requirements are where there was good cause for the untimely filing some compelling reason beyond the protester's control prevented the protester from filing a timely protest, or a significant issue one of widespread interest to the procurement community that has not been considered before is involved. See 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.2(b); Hunter Envtl. Servs., Inc., B-232359, Sept. 15, 1988, 88-2 CPD Para. 251.

Brandebury argues that its protest should be considered under the "significant issue" exception to our timeliness rules. While we recognize the importance of the matter to the protester, we do not think the propriety of this procurement is a significant issue under our Bid Protest Regulations because it does not involve an issue which is of wide-spread interest to the procurement community that has not been considered before. See, e.g., NEFF Instrument Corp., B-216236, Dec. 11, 1984, 84-2 CPD Para. 649.

Our prior dismissal is affirmed.