[Complaint of Proposal Rejection]

B-210056: May 16, 1983

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An Indian-owned firm complained about the rejection of its bid to furnish architectural and engineering services to a housing authority in connection with a project funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The protester asserted that its proposal should have been accepted pursuant to the Indian preference provisions of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, and it also complained about HUD enforcement of the preference in general and posed hypothetical protests involving implementation of the preference by various Federal agencies. The housing authority expressly encouraged Indian participation in the procurement, and it considered the protester's proposal in light of the preference. However, the protester could not supply to the housing authority within the required time period a list of related projects on which it had participated, and contract award was made to a non-Indian-owned firm. The protester suggested that the requirement for experience in single-family conventional construction was unduly restrictive, and it contended that the short time period that it was given to produce a reference list was unreasonable. GAO will not disturb an agency determination made pursuant to the preference unless the determination is shown to be arbitrary, unreasonable, or in violation of regulations. GAO did not object to the decision not to select the protester for contract award because it found nothing unreasonable in the housing authority's decision that the protester would not be an acceptable contractor. The preference does not mandate an award to an Indian-owned firm, and the protester provided no evidence that the authority's experience requirements were unreasonable. GAO refused to review the protester's request to review HUD preference enforcement nationwide since it is the subject of litigation. In addition, GAO would not consider the protester's hypothetical questions. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.