[Protest of DOD Procurement Alleging Ambiguous Specifications]
B-209192: May 3, 1983
- Full Report:
A firm protested the procurement of guard services under an invitation for bids (IFB) issued by the American Forces Radio and Television Service. The protester contended that the solicitation contained ambiguous terms which made it necessary to cancel the solicitation and resolicit. The protester contended that an ambiguity existed in the IFB regarding the class of guards; therefore, bids could not be evaluated on an equal basis. The protester also contended that the bidders should have been advised as to the responsibility for uniform cleaning costs. The agency contended that neither the protester nor any other bidder was misled by the discrepancy between the specification and the wage determination, since the wage determination was merely a statement of the minimum wage which a contractor must pay to specified classes of guards. Finally, the agency argued that the protest against the failure to include the cleaning cost information in the IFB should be dismissed because such matters are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor. However, GAO considered the protest because it alleged that the solicitation did not contain provisions clearly setting out the requirements of the Service Contract Act. A cost breakdown of all of the bids submitted indicated that all bidders used the same class guard rate. There was no evidence in the record that the protester or any other bidder was misled by the discrepancy. GAO found that, since the wage determination did not list a uniform allowance and the IFB made it clear that uniforms were the contractor's responsibility, the IFB was not ambiguous as to the payment of the uniform cleaning allowance. GAO held that inadequate, ambiguous, or otherwise deficient specifications did not constitute a compelling or cogent reason to cancel the IFB and resolicit because there was no indication that the Government would not receive the services desired or that any bidder was misled by the defect in the terms. Accordingly, the protest was denied.