Reconsideration Request

B-195966.2: Oct 28, 1980

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Ralph O. White
(202) 512-8278

Kenneth E. Patton
(202) 512-8205


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The Veterans Administration (VA) requested reconsideration of a prior decision. In that decision, GAO held that the sole-source award for lease of a telephone system for an out-patient clinic was improper because VA justified the sole-source award on the basis that there was insufficient time to conduct a competitive procurement, while the record indicated the agency made no effort to determine the existence of other sources. The protester stated it could perform within the agency's required timeframe. VA argued that the decision was erroneous as it was based on facts not fully presented or misunderstood. VA implied that since GAO set forth the protester's version of the facts as well as the VA version, the protester's view was accepted and formed the basis of the decision. However, the decision clearly indicated that a resolution of the conflicting factual presentations was unnecessary, because the information submitted by VA showed that no reasonable effort was made to determine if competitive sources were available before the sole-source award. Further, VA objected to the statement that the urgency appeared to a great extent to have been created by the agency's inaction. It is clear from the decision, which stated that the urgency itself was not sufficient to justify a sole-source award, that the conclusion that the sole-source award was improper was not based on whether the short timeframe was the fault of VA but on the agency's failure to consider whether sources other than the awardee could perform within the timeframe. GAO held that an agency's established practice must be subordinated to the legal requirement for competition whenever such competition is feasible. It is well established that administrative expediency or convenience, by itself, does not provide a basis for restricting competition. GAO found no basis for modifying the decision. Accordingly, the prior decision was sustained.

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