Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Government Printing Office
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Responsibility Determination
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: With regard to determinations of nonresponsibility, GAO generally will not question a negative determination of responsibility unless the protester can demonstrate bad faith on the part of the agency or a lack of any reasonable basis for the determination.
Colonial Press International, Inc. (Colonial) protests the award of a contract under a solicitation issued by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) for the production of 75,000 brochures.
Colonial was the previous awardee for the requirement, but was terminated for default. The original contract was terminated when Colonial refused to reprint the brochure, despite numerous quality issues. Following termination, GPO issued a solicitation to attempt to reprocure the requirement. Colonial submitted the lowest-priced quote, but was determined to be nonresponsible due to the previous default.
Colonial asserts that GPO’s determination of nonresponsibility was improper, given that Colonial is currently challenging the termination for default before GAO’s Contract Appeals Board. GAO states that it will review a reprocurement to determine whether the agency acted reasonably under the circumstances. With regard to determinations of nonresponsibility, GAO generally will not question a negative determination of responsibility unless the protester can demonstrate bad faith on the part of the agency or a lack of any reasonable basis for the determination. GAO has specifically held that an agency may properly exclude a defaulted contractor from a reprocurement for the remaining work in the defaulted contract.
This view is consistent with various Board of Contract Appeals decisions reviewing agency’s default terminations, which have long held that the contracting officer’s broad discretion in conducting reprocurements includes the discretion to exclude the defaulted contractor from the repurchase. This reasoning will apply despite the fact that the protester has appealed to a Board of Contract Appeals. GAO holds that the agency’s decision to exclude Colonial from the reprocurement does not provide a basis for sustaining the protest. The protest is denied.