Protests will only be accepted from prospective bidders or offerors whose direct economic interest would be affected by the award of a contract or refusal to award a contract. The General Manager will consider all such protests, whether submitted before or after the award of a contract. If oral objections are raised and the matter cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the objector, a written protest shall be required before any further consideration is given. Protest submissions should be concise, logically arranged, and clearly state the grounds for the protest. Protests must include at least the following information:
- Name, address, and telephone number of protestor
- Identification of the solicitation or contract number
- A detailed statement of the legal and factual grounds of the protest including copies of relevant documents
- A statement as to what relief is requested.
All protest documents received by the General Manager shall be stamped with date and time received and logged into a file folder with a copy to the Master File.
4.1 Protests Before Award
Protests before award must be submitted within the time as specified in the solicitation documents. If the written protest is not received by the time specified, evaluation process shall continue in the normal manner unless the Finance Director, upon investigation, finds that remedial action is desirable, in which even such action shall be taken.
The protests addressing the adequacy of Invitation for Bids, RFPs, including, without limitations, the pre-award procedure, the Instructions to Bidders, General Terms and Conditions, Specifications and Scope of Work, must be filed at the Finance Department no later than three days before the scheduled bid opening date. Thereafter, such issues are deemed waived by all interested parties.
Notice of protest and the basis therefore shall be given to all bidders or offerors. In addition, when a protest against the making of an award is received and the Finance Director determines to withhold the award pending disposition of the protest, the bidders whose bids might become eligible for award shall be requested, before expiration of the time for acceptance of their bids, to extend the time for acceptance (with consent of sureties, if any) to avoid the need for readvertising.
When a written protest against the making of an award is received, award shall not be made until five days after the matter is resolved, unless the General Manager determines that:
- The items to be procured are urgently required; or
- Delivery or performance will be unduly delayed by failure to make the award promptly; or
- Failure to make prompt award will otherwise cause undue harm to the Duluth Transit Authority or the State or the Federal Government.
The General Manager shall inform FTA of such a protest if Federal funds are involved.
If award is made, the Finance Director shall document the file to explain the need for an award, and shall give written notice of the decision to proceed with the award to the protestor and, as appropriate, to others concerned.
4.2 Protest After Award
Protests against award must be filed at the Finance Department within five days immediately following the award. The protests shall be reviewed by the Finance Director. The contractor shall be furnished with the notice of protest and the basis therefore. Also, when it appears likely that an award may be invalidated and a delay in receiving the supplies or services is not prejudicial to Duluth Transit Authority’s interest, the Finance Director shall inform the contractor that Duluth Transit Authority will not be responsible if the award is set aside and that the contractor proceeds with performance at his/her own risk. The General Manager shall inform FTA of such a protest if Federal funds are involved.
4.3 Decision On Protest
The General Manager shall render his/her decision in writing within 14 days from the receipt of the written protest and shall provide written notice of such decision to all interested parties.
Following an adverse decision by the General Manager, the protestor may file a protest with the FTA. For details, see FTA Circular 4220.1F, as amended, which states that the FTA will only review protests when a there is a failure to have or follow its protest procedures, a failure to review a complaint or protest; or violations of Federal law or regulation.
This information is contained in Chapter 4 of the DTA’s Financial Management Procedures.