Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Timely bid submission; Inclement weather delay
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: It is an offeror’s responsibility to deliver its proposal to the proper place at the proper time
The Department of Homeland Security issued a request for proposals (RFP) for comprehensive tactical infrastructure maintenance and repair along the southwest U.S. border. The RFP required offerors to submit proposals to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection Office in Arlington, Virginia by 3 p.m. on February 12, 2010. Due to severe weather conditions, federal agencies in the Washington D.C. area were closed from February 8-11, 2010, and reopened on February 12, 2010 with a two hour delay. Hunter Contracting Company submitted its proposal through the U.S. Postal Service’s Next Day Noon Express offering, with an expected delivery on February 11, 2010. Because of the weather, Hunter’s proposal was not received until the morning of February 16, 2010, and was rejected as late. Hunter protested this decision by the agency.
In its protest, Hunter argued that its proposal should have been accepted under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) § 15.208(d), which provides that when an emergency or unanticipated event interrupts normal government processes, the time specified for receipt of proposals is extended to the same time of day as specified in the RFP on the first work day on which normal government processes resume. GAO disagreed, stating instead that February 12 was the first work day following the interruption on which normal government processes resumed, despite the two hour delay. The Bureau was in fact open the entire day on February 12 and had an individual in place to receive proposals starting at 8 a.m. on that day. Because Hunter’s proposal was not received on February 12, GAO determined that the agency was proper in rejecting it for being untimely and denied Hunter’s protest.