[Protest Against Army Contract Award for Fetal Heart Monitors]

B-219731: Sep 23, 1985

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A firm protested an Army contract award for fetal heart monitors, contending that a specification requirement was unduly restrictive of competition. GAO noted that: (1) the Army rejected the protester's proposal as technically unacceptable because it did not offer a required feature; (2) the protester offered an alternative system because the required system feature was not available as a standard product; and (3) alleged improprieties apparent prior to the closing date for receipt of initial proposals must be filed prior to that date. GAO found that: (1) although the protester objected to the specification requirement in its initial proposal, the objection did not constitute a timely protest; (2) the protester did not raise the issue until it filed its protest 5 months after the closing date for receipt of initial proposals; and (3) the proposal was properly rejected because it did not meet material requirements of the solicitation. GAO will not object to a restriction on competition if it can be shown that the restriction is necessary to meet the agency's minimum needs. GAO also found that: (1) the fact that the firm offered a lower price was immaterial since the proposal was reasonably found unacceptable; and (2) the Army met its burden of proving that the requirement was a necessary restriction. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed.