[Protest of Army Rejection of Bid as Nonresponsible]

B-218116: May 17, 1985

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A firm protested the Army's rejection of its bid as nonresponsible under a solicitation which was a small business set-aside. Despite a favorable preaward survey, the contracting officer determined that the low-bidding protester was nonresponsible because it lacked adequate financial resources and a satisfactory performance record. The determination was referred to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for consideration for a Certificate of Competency (COC); however, the protester withdrew its application for a COC. After a subsequent conference with the protester, the Army again determined that the protester was nonresponsible due to its unsatisfactory performance record on a previous contract. The protester contended that: (1) the contracting officer failed to consider the reasons for its unsatisfactory performance; (2) the referral to SBA was procedurally defective; (3) the contracting officer should have referred the second nonresponsibility determination to SBA for COC consideration; and (4) the nonresponsibility determination should be referred to SBA again because its decision to withdraw was made at the suggestion of SBA officials. GAO failed to find that an SBA official advised the withdrawal of the COC application. Furthermore, since the protester failed to avail itself of the possible protection provided by SBA, GAO would not review the agency determination. Finally, GAO found that there was no requirement that the matter be resubmitted to SBA. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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