Protest Involving Contract Award

B-195789: Mar 7, 1980

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A firm protested the award of a contract by the Air Force and the subsequent cancellation of the request for proposals (RFP). Since proper cancellation of a solicitation renders academic a protest involving award procedures, GAO held that this aspect of the protest was dismissed. With regard to the protest concerning the cancellation of the RFP, the protester objected to the cancellation because: (1) there was no prejudice resulting to the awardee under the Republic of the Philippines' Ministry of Labor (MOL) since the RFP did not require use of Republic of the Philippines' (ROP) workers; (2) the MOL did not usurp the Air Force selection authority; (3) the Air Force cancellation had the net effect of prejudicing the protester since the Air Force could have awarded the contract to the protester rather than canceling the RFP; (4) the Air Force has not explained why it did not meet with the MOL earlier to resolve labor difficulties or explained why its proposed resolicitation of the procurement will cure these difficulties; (5) the Air Force may only take action to correct "unfair" advantages created by the United States Government; and (6) the cancellation action was caused by "undue command influence." GAO held that to cancel a negotiated solicitation, the reason for canceling must not be arbitrary. Further, as the moving party in a protest, the protester has the general burden of proving its position. This burden is especially appropriate in a protest challenging a decision to cancel a solicitation since GAO has traditionally recognized the wide range of discretion vested in the contracting officer in arriving at a decision to cancel a solicitation. GAO believed that the protester has not shown the Air Force decision to be arbitrary, and it denied the protest regarding the canceled solicitation. Thus, the protest was dismissed in part, and denied in part.