[Complaint of Refusal To Consider Bid]

B-206152: Jan 24, 1983

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A firm filed a complaint concerning the refusal of an Indian housing authority to consider its bid, which was submitted in response to an invitation for bids (IFB) for a construction contract. Under this IFB, bids were limited to 100-percent Indian-owned organizations. The protester contended that the housing authority refused to consider its bid and returned it unopened. The protester also objected to the subsequent issuance of another solicitation, which was not limited to Indian-owned firms, and the contract award. The first IFB requested bidders to submit sufficient evidence prior to bid opening to establish its qualifications as an Indian organization and evidence of its technical, administrative, and financial capability to perform the contract. On the basis of the evidence submitted, the housing authority determined that the protester did not have the technical, administrative, and financial capacity to perform the proposed contract and informed the protester of this determination. Since the protester's bid was the only one received, it was rejected and returned unopened. The housing authority then readvertised for bids without limiting the advertisement to Indian-owned organizations. GAO stated that regulations allow an Indian housing authority to advertise for bids without limiting the advertisement to Indian organizations after an attempt to afford Indian preference fails to receive an acceptable bid. In direct Federal procurements, GAO has held that a procuring agency has broad discretion in making responsibility determinations; therefore, such matters are best left to the discretion of the contracting agency involved. GAO will not disturb an agency determination of nonresponsibility unless it lacks a reasonable basis. GAO found that the housing authority had a reasonable basis for its determination that the protester was not qualified to perform the work called for in this IFB, based upon the information furnished by the protester. Since the protester was not the low bidder under the second solicitation, it was unnecessary to consider its allegations concerning this solicitation. Accordingly, the complaint was denied.

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