Protest Against Award of Purchase Order

B-195286: Dec 11, 1979

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A firm protested the award of a small purchase order alleging that the agency improperly rejected its low quotation and awarded the order to an offeror whose price was higher and whose delivery date was longer than the protester's. The protester stated that the agency used an award checklist containing a list of firms currently in a delinquent performance status on prior contracts as a blacklist. These firms were allegedly automatically rejected as potential awardees regardless of price and delivery quoted. The protester further alleged constructive fraud and misconduct on the part of the contracting officer on the grounds that he erred in evaluating the protester's delivery date. It was the opinion of GAO that the record did not support a finding of misconduct on the part of the procuring officials resulting from their use of the awards checklist. The checklist was a list of firms with questionable performance histories. Deficient performance on prior contracts is one of the criteria a contracting officer is required to consider. In a preaward survey the protester was found to be nonresponsible due to delinquent performances on past contracts. Thus, there was no evidence to support the allegation that the checklist resulted in the automatic disqualification of those listed. Under small purchase procedures, a procurement founded on the contracting officer's good faith finding that the proposed award is to the Government's best advantage, price and other factors considered, and that its price is reasonable, is ordinarily sufficient. Therefore, the Government need not award the small purchase to the firm offering the lowest quotation. The protest was denied.