Issuance of Certificate of Competency Did Not Mandate Award

The protester’s receipt of a Certificate of Competency did not entitle it to a contract award for construction management services because the award decision was based on matters other than the protester’s responsibility. The request for proposals was partially set aside for small businesses and contemplated multiple awards. The evaluators concluded the protester was among the five offerors that proposed the best value for the set-aside work, but after reviewing the protester’s financial resources, the contracting officer found the protester was not a responsible contractor and referred the protester to the Small Business Administration for a COC review. Although the SBA issued the protester a COC, the protester was not selected for award. According to the protester, the COC referral showed it was in line for an award, and once SBA issued the COC, the government was obligated to award it a contract.

Tradeoff Decision

The Comptroller General denied the protest, finding the government was not required to award the protester a contract. Although 15 USC 637(b)(7)(C) and FAR 19.602-4 preclude the government from denying award to an offeror that has received a COC based on responsibility matters, an offeror is not entitled to an award if there are other reasons for denial that are not related to its responsibility. In this case, the RFP provided for award of contracts on a best-value basis. The record showed the government conducted a best-value tradeoff between the protester and three offerors that proposed higher prices than the protester. In each instance, the government concluded the other proposals provided strengths under the non-price factors that merited award despite the protester’s lower price. Therefore, the protester was not entitled to an award based solely on the issuance of the COC. (Jay Shapiro & Associates, Inc., 30 CGEN ¶114,796)

Comptroller General decisions appear in this Report at 30 CGEN ¶114,796—¶114,799.

Other Comptroller General decisions in this Report include rulings in the following areas: Small business (Nationwide Value Computer, Inc., 30 CGEN ¶114,799); Methods of procurement (MTU Maintenance Canada, LTD, 30 CGEN ¶114,798); Selection of contractor (IT Professionals, Inc., 30 CGEN ¶114,797)