Edward J. Kinberg
Bid Protest – State Agency
June 4, 2014 (Originally Published in Florida Today in June, 2014)
Last month’s article discussed bid protests that must be made prior to submission of a bid. This month, I will review one of the most significant rules for filing a bid protest involving a state agency, filing within the required timeframe.
A notice of intent to protest the terms of a solicitation must be filed within 72 hours, not counting weekends or state holidays, following the electronic posting of the solicitation. The most common mistake contractors make in this regard is assuming the 72 hours means 3 days and not 72 hours by the clock. As such, it is critical to regularly monitor posting of solicitations for which your company may be interested in submitting a bid/proposal.
You should download the solicitation and carefully review all bid documents to ensure the solicitation does not have vague, ambiguous, unclear, overly restrictive provisions or provisions that create any uncertainty in your mind as to how you must write and price your proposal/bid. If you have concerns or questions you must file a timely notice of intent to protest. This is the only opportunity you will have to clarify the terms of the solicitation; once you submit your bid/proposal you are waiving any issues related to the terms of the solicitation.
For post award protests, the 72-hour notice rule starts to run at the time the notice of award or intent to award is published. As such, you must check the location at which the Agency stated it will post its notice of award. If the award is not posted, you need to contact the contracting officer to confirm there has been a delay and determine the revised time and date of posting. To minimize the possibility of error, you should email the point of contact shown in the solicitation confirming the notice was not posted on time and the new date it will be posted. If you feel the award was not made in accordance with the terms and requirements of the solicitation you must file a timely notice of intent to protest or you will waive your right to do so.
The notice of intent to protest does not need to address the issues in the protest; the primary purpose of this notice is to let the Agency know your company intends to file a formal protest. The procedure for a formal protest and protest bond, if required, will be discussed in my next article.