Protest Challenging Propriety of Proposal Evaluation and Award Criteria

B-196281: Jun 2, 1981

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A firm protested the award of a contract by presenting a number of arguments challenging the propriety of the evaluation of the proposals and the selection. The protester contended that the lower cost of its technically acceptable proposal more than offset the technical advantage of the awardee's higher cost proposal. The agency maintained that cost was only one of five evaluation criteria and that the award was made to the awardee because its proposal was significantly superior technically and the most advantageous to the Government. GAO believed that the agency's understanding of the terms of the request for proposals (RFP) was more reasonable than the protester's. GAO saw no basis on the record to conclude that the scoring variations cited by the protester demonstrated any impropriety in the evaluation procedure. An allegation that the protester's costs per technical quality point was lower than the awardee's proposal did not demonstrate an impropriety in the evaluation and selection process. The record supported the fact that the protester never submitted a fixed price offer, as it contended. A protest that the contract was not planned for a labor surplus area did not provide a basis for objection to the award since the RFP was not restricted to labor surplus area offerors. GAO found no basis for objection to the evaluation of proposals and selection and saw no grounds to find the existence of arbitrary and capricious action necessary to support the recovery of proposal preparation costs. The protest and claim were denied.

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