Protest Against Contract Award

B-197209: Sep 2, 1980

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A firm protested the award of a contract issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to a non-Indian firm for structural engineering services. The protester contended that the procurement was conducted and that the award was made in violation of the Buy Indian Act and BIA implementing regulations and policy procedures. The protester also claimed proposal preparation costs. A review of the record showed that the protester telephoned the procuring activity prior to the closing date for receipt of proposals and asked why the project was not advertised with Indian preference or under the Buy Indian Act. The protester then met with the contracting officer's staff; offered evidence that it was a qualified Indian-owned business; specifically asked that it be considered under the Buy Indian Act; and at the agency's request, forwarded evidence of its eligibility for Indian preference to BIA on the same day. GAO held that the protester's pre-closing date contacts with the procuring activity were timely oral protests regarding the failure of the request for proposals to prescribe a preference for Indian firms; and that the agency's receipt of proposals, without having amended the request for proposals, constituted an adverse action by the agency. Therefore, the protest to GAO more than 6 weeks after the closing date for receipt of proposals was untimely filed. Additionally, GAO held that it would not consider the protester's claim for proposal preparation costs, because to do so would circumvent the timeliness requirements of the bid protest procedures. Accordingly, the protest and claim were dismissed.