Protest of Bureau of Mines Contract Award

B-194046: May 14, 1979

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A firm protested the award of a small-purchase contract on the basis that its quotation for a graphics display-type communications terminal was improperly rejected by the Bureau of Mines, and that the agency allowed the firm's competitor to reduce its price after the closing date for receipt of quotations. Since this was a negotiated procurement covering small purchases, the contracting officer could properly require only reasonable, rather than maximum, competition. In addition, a small purchase need not be awarded to the firm offering the lowest quotation. In this case, the Bureau of Mines determined that the protester's equipment would not satisfy its requirements and that acceptance of the protester's offer would not be in the Government's interest. The protester's competitor offered technically acceptable equipment, and there was no impropriety in the Government's acceptance of the unsolicited price reduction by the protester's competitor. The protest was denied.