[Protest of HUD Contract Award]
B-219344: Aug 29, 1985
- Full Report:
A firm protested a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) contract award, contending that: (1) the procurement was biased in favor of the incumbent contractor; and (2) the award created an improper organizational conflict of interest because the contractor's firm was controlled by members of the state primary inspection agencies which were being monitored under the contract. GAO noted that: (1) despite the awardee's higher proposed cost, the awardee's technical score was evaluated as more significant than its proposed cost; and (2) after further discussions to clarify certain costs and confirm the difference in technical scores, the difference in estimated cost between the two proposals was eliminated. GAO also noted that the responsibility for determining whether a firm has a conflict of interest and to what extent a firm should be excluded from competition rests with the procuring agency, and it will not overturn such a determination unless it is shown to be unreasonable. GAO found that: (1) the awardee's proposal included a certification that none of its personnel involved were subject to any conflict of interest; (2) HUD acted reasonably in permitting the awardee to compete for the requirement; (3) the protester's allegations constituted mere inferences of actual or potential conflict of interest; (4) the allegation regarding agency bias was untimely because it related to the evaluation criteria which allegedly provided an unfair advantage to the contractor; and (5) it has no authority to decide what information an agency must release in a report to a protester. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.