Untimely Protest of Bid Rejection as Nonresponsive

B-196126: Nov 6, 1979

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A press clipping service protested the award of a contract in which the solicitation was a total surplus area labor set-aside. Although the protester's bid was the lowest, it was declared nonresponsive because it was not in a labor surplus area. The protester alleged that only the next lowest bidder was eligible for the award, since the other bidders were or would have been found ineligible for award because they were not in the press clipping industry. Further, the protester requested that either its bid be considered responsive, or that the bids be resolicited without the labor set-aside restrictions. Regulations require that under certain conditions procurements be set aside for labor surplus area concerns. The fact that only one firm ultimately may have been eligible for award did not preclude the agency from making the award to that firm. As the protest questioned only the labor surplus area restriction, it relates to an alleged impropriety in the solicitation which was apparent from the invitation for bids prior to bid opening. It was clear from the protester's submission that the protest was untimely under GAO Bid Protest Procedures and not for consideration on the merits. Therefore, the protest was dismissed.