[Protest of State Department Contract Award for Equipment Operation and Maintenance]

B-240029.2,B-240029.3,B-240029.4: Oct 31, 1990

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A firm protested a Department of State contract award for equipment operation and maintenance contending that State: (1) improperly evaluated its proposal and was biased against it; and (2) misapplied the evaluation criteria, considered unspecified factors, and failed to conduct meaningful discussions. GAO held that: (1) the record did not include clear evidence of bias or a conflict of interest; (2) State misconstrued the protester's best and final offer and failed to consider a major increase in the protester's level of effort; and (3) State did not conduct meaningful discussions regarding active duty military personnel the protester proposed to use to perform the contract. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part, dismissed in part, and sustained in part, and GAO recommended that State: (1) reopen discussions with the offerors in the competitive range; (2) request another round of best and final offers and carefully evaluate them; and (3) reimburse the protester for its protest costs.