[Protest of EPA Contract Award for Technical Support Services]

B-230070: May 27, 1988

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A firm protested an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contract award for technical support services, contending that EPA improperly: (1) administered and modified the predecessor contracts; (2) extended the contracts, which gave the incumbent a competitive advantage; (3) assigned an unqualified person to chair the evaluation panel; (4) made award on the basis of the awardee's lower proposed costs without conducting a detailed audit; (5) used an overhead rate ceiling in evaluating its bid; (6) made award based on costs instead of the more important technical factors; and (7) waived a small business subcontracting goal requirement for the awardee. GAO held that: (1) the protester untimely filed its protest against alleged solicitation improprieties, contract administration, and evaluation panel qualifications; (2) the EPA cost realism-evaluation of the awardee's bid was reasonable; (3) EPA properly used cost as the determining factor, since the awardee's and protester's bids were technically equal; and (4) the relaxation of the subcontracting goal requirement was reasonable and did not prejudice the protester. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.

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