[Protest of Proposed Air Force Contract Award]

B-207631.2: Apr 5, 1983

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A firm protested the proposed award of an Air Force contract for transient aircraft services. The protester contended that the proposed awardee was improperly represented at a prebid conference by an active duty Air Force sergeant, the proposed awardee's bid bond was issued on behalf of an entity other than the bidder, and the proposed awardee's bid was late and improperly considered. GAO reviewed the record and found that the sergeant's attendance at the conference did not undermine the integrity of the bid process, because the Air Force had determined that the serviceman was not affiliated with any of the bidders prior to the submission of bids and his presence had no effect on the procurement. With regard to the discrepancy between the names on the bid and bid bond, GAO stated that, where evidence existing prior to bid opening establishes the sameness of two entities, the difference may properly be waived as a matter of form which does not affect the bidder's identity and the bid may properly be accepted. Finally, GAO concluded that the bid was not late since it was dispatched more than a month in advance of bid opening and then misplaced by the Air Force. Accordingly, the protest was denied.