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A firm protested the Government Printing Office's (GPO) determination that it was nonresponsible under two solicitations for printing services, contending that GPO improperly failed to conduct standard preaward surveys to assess its performance on other projects. GAO held that GPO reasonably determined that the protester was nonresponsible, since the record showed that the protester lacked adequate production controls and quality assurance methods to satisfy the quality requirements of the contracts. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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B-243015, Mar 7, 1991, 91-1 CPD 258

PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - Private disputes - GAO review

DIGEST

Attorneys

Concrete Systems, Inc.:

Concrete Systems, Inc. (CSI) protests the award of a contract to A to Z Precast Concrete Products, Inc., under invitation for bids (IFB) No. F08602-91-B-0007, issued by the Department of the Air Force for concrete buildings. CSI principally maintains that the award was improper because, during the competition, the CSI employee responsible for preparing CSI's bid left CSI to work for A to Z, Inc., a firm the employee established while employed at CSI.

We dismiss the protest.

An allegation concerning the actions of a former employee and a competing offeror during the competitive process involves a dispute between private parties concerning their business practices and relationships, which is properly for resolution by the involved private parties through the courts, if necessary, not our Office. Bildon, Inc., B-241375, Oct. 25, 1990, 90-2 CPD Para. 332. As the circumstances set forth by CSI clearly fall within this standard, we will not consider the protest.

To the extent that A to Z, Inc.'s eligibility for award allegedly is affected by the employee's conduct, it involves the firm's responsibility; the determination as to whether a firm is responsible is largely within the discretion of the contracting officer, and our Office will not review an affirmative determination of responsibility except in limited circumstances not applicable here. 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.3(m)(5) (1990); Fortune Serv. Co., B-238458, Feb. 15, 1990, 90-1 CPD Para. 281.

The protest is dismissed.