GAO Holds that Protest Was Late Despite Post-Debriefing Questions

Some contractors mistakenly believe that debriefings or post-debriefing questions always extend the deadline for filing a protest with GAO. In some cases they do, but in others they don’t. In cases where they don’t, a protester must file its protest within 10 days of knowing the basis for its protest. Otherwise, GAO will dismiss the protest as untimely, without any regards to the protest’s merits.

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Option to “Postpone” Required Pre-Award Debriefing Until After Award—Gain Information, But Lose Right to Protest

GAO’s bid protest window for debriefings—which closes 10 days after the required debriefing—knows very few exceptions. But what if the agency offers you a more informative post-award debriefing in place of the pre-award debriefing normally required upon your elimination from the competitive range? This option will likely improve your ability to compete for future contracts with the agency. Shouldn’t you be able to accept it without giving up your right to protest? GAO says no.

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GAO: Agency Closing Time is 4:30 p.m., not 5:00 p.m.

Unless an agency designates different business hours, the FAR says that a government agency is deemed to close at 4:30 p.m. local time–not 5:00 p.m., as it would be easy to assume.

In a recent case, the 4:30 p.m. closing time cost an unsuccessful offeror a chance at a GAO protest because the offeror’s debriefing request, sent to the agency at 4:59 p.m., was deemed untimely.

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