B-242396.2, Jul 3, 1991, 91-2 CPD ***

B-242396.2: Jul 3, 1991

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PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - GAO decisions - Reconsideration motions - Interested parties DIGEST: Where interested party was aware of protest but did not actively participate in process by presenting or responding to arguments. Party is not eligible to request reconsideration of decision on protest. Patrick was improper and recommended award to VRI. Who engaged in the effort necessary to reasonably participate in the protest process before a decision was reached. This ensures that our decision on the matter will address all relevant information and issues. Where a party is on notice of a protest. Patrick was aware of the protest. It is not eligible to request reconsideration.

B-242396.2, Jul 3, 1991, 91-2 CPD ***

PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - GAO decisions - Reconsideration motions - Interested parties DIGEST: Where interested party was aware of protest but did not actively participate in process by presenting or responding to arguments, party is not eligible to request reconsideration of decision on protest.

Attorneys

St. Patrick Hospital-- Reconsideration:

St. Patrick Hospital requests reconsideration of our decision, Vocational Resources, Inc., B-242396, Apr. 29, 1991, 91-1 CPD Para. 414, in which we sustained the protest of Vocational Resources, Inc. (VRI) against the award of a contract to St. Patrick under request for quotations (RFQ) No. 0-846, issued by the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, for an employee assistance program. We held that the award to St. Patrick was improper and recommended award to VRI.

We deny the request.

Our Bid Protest Regulations permit the protester and "any interested party who participated in the protest" to request reconsideration. C.F.R. Sec. 21.12(a) (1991). In promulgating this provision, we intended to limit reconsideration requests to parties with a sufficient interest in the matter, who engaged in the effort necessary to reasonably participate in the protest process before a decision was reached; this ensures that our decision on the matter will address all relevant information and issues, and minimize the possible disruption to the procurement process that could result from a decision on reconsideration. Woodington Corp.-- Recon., B-235957.2, Nov. 15, 1989, 89-2 CPD Para. 461. Thus, where a party is on notice of a protest, that party's failure to participate actively in the original proceeding precludes it from requesting reconsideration. Tandem Computers, Inc.-- Recon., B-221333.2 et al., Sept. 18, 1986, 86-2 CPD Para. 315.

St. Patrick states that it became aware of the protest when it received a copy of the agency report on January 30, 1991, nearly 3 months before we issued our decision. Since St. Patrick was aware of the protest, but chose not to participate in the process, it is not eligible to request reconsideration.

St. Patrick blames its failure to participate on the agency's failure to give it timely notice of the protest and on VRI's failure to furnish it with copies of its submissions to our Office. While agencies are required by Federal Acquisition Regulation Sec. 33.104(a)(4) to notify interested parties of protests at the time they are filed, the agency's failure to do so here does not excuse St. Patrick's failure to express interest in VRI's protest. St. Patrick learned of the protest on January 30, before comments on the agency's report were due and well before our decision was issued on April 29. In this regard, the agency's January 30 letter to St. Patrick enclosed not only a copy of the agency report but also a copy of the protest and other protest file material. The letter also advised St. Patrick to furnish any comments it might have directly to our Office. Although a St. Patrick official has furnished an affidavit stating that at the time the report was furnished it was orally advised by the contracting officer that "it would not be necessary or helpful for the hospital to reply to the protest or to provide comments," St. Patrick clearly had the opportunity to participate in the protest. While St. Patrick was free to accept this oral advice and not participate in the protest, its decision to do so precludes it from being eligible to seek reconsideration of our decision under 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.12. As for VRI's failure to provide copies of its filings to St. Patrick, our Regulations require that copies be furnished only to "participating interested parties." 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.3(j).

The request for reconsideration is denied.