Monday, November 21, 2016

It is Okay for Government to Extend Proposal Submission Due Date After Initial Due Date Has Passed

Suppose your company has worked very hard and spent many hours - some of them overtime hours -to prepare and submit a proposal by the solicitation's cut-off date and time. But then, after the cut-off date has passed, the Government unilaterally extends the due date. Would you be upset? Would you be suspicious? Readers of this blog know that the Government can reject proposals received as untimely - happens all the time. But what circumstances would prompt the Government to extend the due date after the initial due date had closed? To enhance competition? Because they didn't like your bid and other bids submitted prior to the cut-off date? Because they had a personal contractor preference and that contractor did not submit a timely bid? There could be all manner of reasons but we would be among the first to cast a wary eye on the deal.

According to the Comptroller General in a recently published bid protest decision, there is nothing improper about such an activity.
...the protestor argues that the agency's extension of the closing date for receipt of initial proposals was improper because it occurred after the initial closing date has passed. This assertion fails to state a valid basis for protest because there is no prohibition against a procuring agency issuing an amendment to extend the closing time for receipt of proposals after that time has passed to accommodate even one offeror, where the motivation for the extension is enhanced competition.
The key here is that the post-closing date extension must be motivated by a desire to "enhance" competition. If there was only one bidder, that might be justified. If there were multiple bidders however, that justification may not fly. Hopefully, Government contracting organizations have sufficient controls in place where such extensions must be approved by upper management so as to preclude improper practices.

You can read the entire bid protest decision here.

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