[Protests of GSA Contract Awards for Removal of PCB-Contaminated Transformers]

B-228140,B-228140.2,B-228160,B-228160.2,B-228162,B-228162.2,B-22: Jan 6, 1988

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Two firms protested four General Services Administration (GSA) contract awards for the removal of PCB-contaminated transformers. One protester contended that GSA abused its discretion, since it failed to delete a labor surplus area (LSA) clause and cancel the solicitation after it realized that one work performance area was no longer LSA. The second protester contended that the awardee's bids were nonresponsive, since the guarantees: (1) were not valid for a full year; (2) did not include the name of the bidding legal entity; (3) named a federal employee who was required to certify bid defaults; and (4) reserved its right to provide bid bonds from any surety. The second protester also contended that the awardee's bid: (1) was ambiguous and not in compliance with the solicitation terms; and (2) did not comply with standard affirmative action requirements. GAO held that: (1) the first protester untimely filed its protest against alleged solicitation improprieties; (2) the procurements were not subject to the full-year bid guarantee requirement; (3) there was no discrepancy between the legal entity the awardee named on its bid and on its guarantee, since one was an operating unit of the other; (4) the awardee's bid did not contain any terms that were inconsistent with solicitation requirements; (5) naming a federal employee to certify a bidder's default on a bid guarantee was unobjectionable, since it did not affect the guarantee's enforcement; (6) GSA should have rejected one bid as nonresponsive, since it was ambiguous with respect to a material requirement and was not correctable after bid opening; and (7) compliance with affirmative action requirements was a matter of bidder responsibility. Accordingly, the protest that GSA abused its discretion was dismissed, two of the contract award protests were denied, and one contract award protest was sustained. GAO recommended that GSA terminate one contract for the convenience of the government and award it to the second protester, if otherwise appropriate.