Protest of Army Contract Award

B-206083: Mar 4, 1982

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A firm protested the award of a contract by the Department of the Army. The solicitation was a total small business set-aside for guard services. The protester contended that the contracting officer should have waived the bid bond requirement for the firm because of its successful past performance of guard services. However, a contracting officer must reject as nonresponsive a bid which does not include a required bid bond, unless it is the only bid received or the bid bond is received late but is acceptable under the rules for considering late bids. Since neither exception applied, the contracting officer properly rejected the protester's bid. The protester also complained that the awardee was not licensed in North Carolina to provide guard services and therefore failed to meet the solicitation requirement that the contractor comply with all Federal, State, and local law. However, unless the solicitation requires a bidder to possess a specific license or permit, a firm's compliance with State or local licensing requirements is a matter to be resolved between the contractor and the licensing authorities. The failure to possess a particular State license not expressly required by the solicitation thus does not render a bidder ineligible for award. Finally, the protester questioned whether the awardee was a small business. However, the authority to determine the size status of a firm rests with the Small Business Administration. Therefore, GAO would not consider the size status complaint. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.