Protest of NASA Contract Award

B-201725: May 20, 1981

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

A firm protested the proposed award of a contract under a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The contract, a 100 percent small business set-aside, was for the operation of the employee health program for NASA headquarters, including the employee health clinic and physical fitness facility. The proposed awardee firm was recently formed for the purpose of competing for this procurement by the medical director at NASA headquarters under contract to the incumbent contractor, a large business. The protester contended that: (1) the RFP qualifications for medical director were unduly restrictive because they were drawn around the qualifications of the medical director; and (2) the determination by NASA that its revised proposal was technically unacceptable was arbitrary and capricious. Bid protest procedures require that a protest based on alleged solicitation improprieties, which are apparent prior to the closing date for receipt of initial proposals must be filed prior to the closing date. The protest was not filed until a month after the due date for receipt of initial proposals. Therefore, the first ground of the protest was untimely filed. The protester argued that GAO should review its allegations under the significant issue provision of the bid protest procedures, because this case was an example of a situation where the Government writes restrictive specifications around the incumbent's key personnel to permit the key personnel to form a small business to compete for the set-aside procurement. GAO does not consider the alleged solicitation improprieties raised by the protester to be significant. Significant issue execption is limited to issues of widespread interest to the procurement community and is exercised sparingly so that the timeliness standards do not become meaningless. In response to the second ground of protest, GAO could not say that the rejection of the protester's proposal by NASA was arbitrary. The RFP clearly warned that a proposal would be unacceptable if key personnel did not possess the minimum specified qualifications, yet the protester's proposed individuals who did not meet those requirements. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

Nov 24, 2020

Nov 20, 2020

Nov 19, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here