Protest Alleging That Awardee Is Ineligible and That Negotiations Were Improperly Conducted

B-195967: Jan 2, 1980

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A firm protested the award of a small business set-aside contract by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) on the grounds that (1) the awardee was not a minority-owned small business and was thus ineligible to receive the award, and (2) HEW improperly negotiated the contract. GAO determined that the awardee was, in fact, a minority small business and therefore eligible to receive the award. The second basis for the protest resulted from an effort by HEW to reconcile wide variances between the Government estimate and the estimates of the two offerors. The protester appeared to believe that the contracting officer's effort at negotiation was intended to give the awardee an opportunity to quote a price lower than the protester's. However, GAO determined that the record failed to demonstrate any basis for concluding that HEW improperly negotiated the contract. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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