[Protest of Department of Education Contract Award for Selection and Captioning of Educational Films]

B-220868: Mar 5, 1986

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A firm protested a Department of Education contract award for the selection and captioning of educational films, contending that: (1) the technical evaluation of its proposal was flawed because the agency did not follow the solicitation's evaluation criteria; (2) the agency improperly failed to rescore the proposals after the receipt of best and final offers; (3) one of the evaluators and an inadequate summary of the evaluation panel's comments tainted the evaluation and award decision; (4) the award was improper because the awardee's proposal was technically overrated as a result of that firm's misrepresentation of its personnel commitment; (5) the award may cause a conflict of interest because the awardee would have an interest in selecting its own clients' films for the contract; and (6) the agency should not have requested a second round of best and final offers since its proposal met the solicitation requirements and was priced lower after the first round of best and final offers. GAO has held that: (1) where the solicitation does not include a formula assigning precise weights to technical factors and cost on which to base a selection, the selection officials have the discretion to determine the technical/cost tradeoffs; (2) there is no requirement that an agency formally rescore best and final offers; (3) allegations of biased, unfair, or prejudicial motives will not be attributed to procurement officials on the basis of inference or supposition; (4) one evaluation panel member's scoring does not establish bias; (5) the procuring agency must determine conflicts of interest by preventing bias in the performance of certain contracts which could result in a conflict of interest and by awarding contracts that would best serve the government's needs; (6) there is no impropriety in requesting a second round of best and final offers where there exists a valid reason to do so; and (7) the matter of whether the awardee purposefully misstated its intention to use its personnel was speculative. Accordingly, the protest was denied.