Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protest dismissed.
Keywords: Protester Comments
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: E-mail filing of documents with GAO means timely filing at the provided e-mail address (Protest@GAO.gov), not by e-mailing any other address in GAO, or by e-mailing a copy of the document to the GAO attorney.
Andros Contracting, Inc. (Andros) protests the award of a contract by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under a request for proposals (RFP) for elevator replacement and renovation.
The agency issued the RFP as a set-aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small business firms. The RFP provided that award would be made to the lowest-priced technically acceptable offeror. In order for its proposal to be considered technically acceptable, an offeror was required to demonstrate that its proposed elevator contractor had the technical qualifications and experience needed to meet the project requirements by providing evidence of certain qualifications, which were divided into two principal subparts (A and B). Andros’ proposal was found technically unacceptable where it failed to submit any information specifically responsive to subfactor B.
Under GAO Regulations, comments on an agency report must be filed with the Office within 10 days after receiving the report, except where GAO has granted an extension or established a shorter period. The time for Andros to file its comments on the agency had not been extended or shortened by GAO. A document is filed when it is received by GAO by 5:30 p.m., Eastern Time, on that day. Protests and other documents may be filed by hand delivery, mail, commercial carrier, facsimile transmission, or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
On the day that comments were due, Andros attempted to file the comments by e-mail, but used an incorrect e-mail address. The comments were not received at the correct address by the due date and time. Andros also e-mailed a copy of its comments to the individual e-mail address of the GAO attorney handling the case; that e-mail was received one minute before deadline. GAO states that e-mail filing means timely filing at the provided e-mail address, not by e-mailing any other address in GAO, or by e-mailing a copy of the document to the GAO attorney. Since Andros chose to file its comments on the agency report by e-mail but its comments were not received at the designated e-mail address by the deadline, the comments were not timely filed. The protest is dismissed.