[Protest of Navy Contract Award and Failure To Discuss Negative Responsibility Determination]

B-219745: Sep 24, 1985

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A firm protested a Navy contract award to any other bidder, contending that: (1) the preaward survey team did not indicate noncompliance; and (2) the contracting officer made a nonresponsibility determination without giving it an opportunity to discuss or correct the findings of the survey. GAO noted that the contracting officer determined that the protester was not a responsible prospective contractor and, subsequently, the Small Business Administration (SBA) declined to issue the firm a certificate of competency (COC). GAO limits its review of responsibility to cases where the protester alleges either possible fraud or bad faith on the part of the contracting officer or where SBA fails to consider vital information bearing on the bidder's responsibility. GAO found that: (1) a contracting officer may discuss preaward survey information with a prospective contractor before determining its responsibility, but there is no requirement that he do so; (2) SBA has statutory authority to review responsibility determinations and determine a firm's responsibility by issuing or declining to issue a COC; and (3) the protester did not allege the existence of either possible fraud or bad faith on the part of the contracting officer. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed.