Protest Alleging That Awardee Is Not Responsible

B-195846: Feb 20, 1980

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A firm protested the award of a contract for radiology services at an Army medical center contending that: the personnel to be supplied by the awardee for the services did not satisfy all the requirements of the solicitation as specified in paragraph F-12; the group of radiologists the awardee intended to use to perform the contract differed from the group it originally submitted to be surveyed for responsibility purposes in a preaward evaluation; and three of the radiologists were under contract to the protester with contract provisions precluding them from working at that medical center for any other contractor except the protester. The issue presented was whether or not the solicitation contained definitive responsibility criteria. It has been GAO policy not to review affirmative determinations of responsibility except where fraud is alleged on the part of procuring officials, or where the determination of responsibility has been made contrary to the solicitation's definitive responsibility criteria. While solicitation paragraph F-12 did not contain definitive responsibility criteria, paragraph C-43 dealt explicitly with matters of responsibility. The record indicated: that the agency requested and received from the awardee the information requested in C-43, the information was evaluated, and that an affirmative responsibility determination was then made. There was no basis on which to disagree with the agency's responsibility determination. The record also indicated that the awardee did change the make-up of the group it submitted for preaward evaluation, but that the new radiologists also met the same definitive responsibility criteria as the original group. With respect to the contention that three radiologists presently performing for the awardee are doing so in breach of contract with the protester, GAO was not in a position to adjudicate the rights of a protester against another private party. The protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.