Matter of: Maytag Aircraft Corporation File: B-250628; B-251152 Date: February 2, 1993

B-250628,B-251152: Feb 2, 1993

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PROCUREMENT Competitive Negotiation Requests for proposals Cancellation Justification Competition enhancement Contracting officer reasonably canceled a negotiated procurement and resolicited the requirement where only one offer was received and the contracting officer only became aware of the potential for increased competition just hours prior to the closing time which did not permit an extension of the closing time. The protester argues that the contracting officer did not have a reasonable basis to cancel RFP-0076. Firms on the bidder's mailing list were sent copies of the solicitation. Was the only firm which participated in a non-mandatory site visit conducted by the Naval Petroleum Office (NPO).

Matter of: Maytag Aircraft Corporation File: B-250628; B-251152 Date: February 2, 1993

PROCUREMENT Competitive Negotiation Requests for proposals Cancellation Justification Competition enhancement Contracting officer reasonably canceled a negotiated procurement and resolicited the requirement where only one offer was received and the contracting officer only became aware of the potential for increased competition just hours prior to the closing time which did not permit an extension of the closing time.

Attorneys

DECISION Maytag Aircraft Corporation protests the cancellation of request for proposals (RFP) No. DLA600-92-R-0076 (RFP-0076), issued by the Defense Fuel Supply Center, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for aircraft refueling services at the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, Washington, and the issuance of RFP No. DLA600-92-R-0173 (RFP-0173) for the same services. The protester argues that the contracting officer did not have a reasonable basis to cancel RFP-0076.

We deny the protest.

RFP-0076, synopsized in the Commerce Business Daily and issued on June 8, 1992, contemplated the award of a multi-year (covering more than 1-year's, but not in excess of 5-year's, requirements), firm, fixed-price contract. Firms on the bidder's mailing list were sent copies of the solicitation. The protester, the incumbent contractor, was the only firm which participated in a non-mandatory site visit conducted by the Naval Petroleum Office (NPO), the user activity, on July 9. Just hours before the closing time for receipt of proposals on July 20, the NPO requested that the DLA contracting officer extend the closing time for receipt of proposals because it learned, apparently after the site visit, that other firms were interested in submitting offers. The contracting officer did not extend the closing time. The protester submitted the only offer, and it subsequently furnished cost and pricing data.

By letters dated July 31 and September 11, the NPO requested that the DLA resolicit the requirement in order to maximize competition and to reduce costs. On September 17 and 18, the DLA contracting officer called the firms which had expressed an interest to the NPO in providing the refueling services. These firms represented that they would submit offers if given the opportunity. Based on this information, and prior to a determination of the reasonableness of the protester's price, by letter dated September 21, the contracting officer canceled RFP-0076. On October 14, the contracting officer issued RFP-0173 resoliciting the requirement. Under RFP-0173, several firms, including the protester, submitted offers by the November 16 closing date.

The protester argues that the prospect of increased competition did not constitute a reasonable basis for the DLA contracting officer to cancel RFP-0076, particularly when the contracting officer could have extended the original closing time for receipt of proposals, thus affording other interested firms the opportunity to compete.

In a negotiated procurement, such as this, the contracting officer has broad discretion in deciding whether to cancel a solicitation; a reasonable basis to do so will suffice. See FAR Sec. 15.608(b)(4) (when cancellation of an RFP is clearly in the government's interest); Adrian Supply Co., B-241502, et al., Feb. 7, 1991, 91-1 CPD Para. 138. A contracting officer properly may cancel a negotiated procurement based on the potential for increased competition. Research Analysis and Maintenance, Inc., B-236575, Dec. 12, 1989, 89-2 CPD Para. 543.

Here, we find that the potential for increased competition provided a reasonable basis for the DLA contracting officer to cancel RFP-0076. The record shows that the NPO only made the contracting officer aware, just hours prior to the closing time for receipt of proposals under RFP-0076, of the potential for increased competition if the closing time were extended. While ordinarily the contracting officer could have extended the closing time so that the firms which had discussions with the NPO could have submitted offers, failure to do so in the few hours remaining before closing does not bar accomplishment of the same end after the time for receipt of proposals. It was not until the contracting officer received only the protester's offer, and confirmed that there were in fact other firms interested in performing the requirement, that the contracting officer determined to cancel RFP-0076 and resolicit the requirement under RFP-0173. Since a contracting officer may properly cancel an RFP regardless of when the information warranting cancellation arises, Research Analysis and Maintenance, Inc., supra, we have no basis to question the reasonableness of the contracting officer's decision.

The protest is denied.