[Protest of Proposed Contract Award]

B-209613: Feb 7, 1983

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A firm protested the proposed award of a Navy contract under an invitation for bids for janitorial services at a Navy facility. The protester argued that: (1) the awardee failed to sign its bid bond; (2) the awardee's bond was underwritten by individual sureties rather than by a corporate surety; (3) the individual sureties could not cover their financial obligations to cover the bond; (4) the total potential liabilities of performance and payment bonds were beyond the capacity of the awardee's individual sureties; and (5) the awardee's prompt payment discount should not have been accepted because of a recent Defense Acquisition Regulation (DAR) amendment prohibiting the use of such discounts for evaluation purposes. GAO held that: (1) the awardee's failure to sign the bid bond was a waivable minor informality since the bid itself was signed by the awardee; (2) the solicitation was correctly construed to mean that individual sureties were allowed to be used to support the bid bond; (3) since the protester did not refute the Navy's assertion that the sureties were able to meet their financial obligations, it did not meet its burden of affirmatively proving its case; (4) a surety's ability to complete contract performance requirements is a matter of contract administration which is not cognizable under bid protest procedures; and (5) because the DAR was amended after the bid solicitation, the bid evaluation properly considered the prompt payment discount. Further, if the discount should not have been considered, the proper course of action would have been to cancel the IFB and resolicit, in which case the protest was untimely. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.