Protest Against Debarment

B-196703: May 6, 1980

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A request was made that the recent debarment of a contractor and a firm be changed to show a commencement date of July 6, 1978. The basis for the request was that the protesters assumed when they did not appeal the July 6, 1978, decision of the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor, regarding their violations, that they were debarred commencing July 6, 1978. Moreover, the protesters allegedly have conducted themselves since that time as if they were debarred. GAO held that the Labor decision recommended to the Comptroller General that the protesters be debarred from doing business with the Government as a contractor for 3 years from the date of publication of the debarred bidders list. Thus, as pointed out in the decision and as specifically stated in the Davis-Bacon Act, debarment does not begin until the names are published in the debarred bidders list. Therefore, contrary to the understanding of the protesters, there was no legal prohibition against their competing for Government contracts during the period between the decision recommending debarment and the actual date of debarment. Further, once an individual or firm is placed on the debarred bidders list for violation of the Davis-Bacon Act, there is no authority to remove the name from the list before the expiration of the 3-year statutory debarment. Accordingly, GAO has no authority to reduce the term of the debarment.