|(a) Any actual or prospective bidder, offeror, or contractor
alleging to have been aggrieved in connection with the solicitation, evaluation,
or award of a contract may formally protest to the Division Director of the
Administrative Services Division (the Director). Such protests must be in
writing and received in the Director's office within 10 working days after
the protesting party knows, or should have known, of the occurrence of the
action, which is protested. Formal protests must conform to the requirements
of this subsection and subsection (c) of this section, and shall be resolved
in accordance with the procedure set forth in subsections (d) and (e) of this
section. Copies of the protest must be mailed or delivered by the protesting
party to the agency and other interested parties. For the purposes of this
section, "interested parties" means all vendors who have submitted bids or
proposals for the contract involved.
(b) In the event of a timely protest or appeal under this section,
the Secretary of State's office shall not proceed further with the solicitation
or with the award of the contract unless the Director makes a written determination
that the award of contract without delay is necessary to protect substantial
interests of the state.
(c) A formal protest must be sworn and contain:
(1) a specific identification of the statutory or regulatory
provision(s) that the action complained of is alleged to have violated;
(2) a specific description of each act alleged to have violated
the statutory or regulatory provision(s) identified in paragraph (1) of this
(3) a precise statement of the relevant facts;
(4) an identification of the issue or issues to be resolved;
(5) argument and authorities in support of the protest; and
(6) a statement that copies of the protest have been mailed
to identifiable interested parties.
(d) The Director shall have the authority, prior to appeal
to the Secretary of State, to settle and resolve the dispute concerning the
solicitation or award of a contract. The Director may solicit written responses
to the protest from other interested parties.
(e) If the protest is not resolved by mutual agreement, the
Director will issue a written determination on the protest.
(1) If the Director determines that no violation of rules or
statutes has occurred, he shall so inform the protesting party and other interested
parties by letter which sets forth the reasons for the determination.
(2) If the Director determines that a violation of the rules
or statutes has occurred in a case where a contract has not been awarded,
he shall so inform the protesting party, and other interested parties by letter
which sets forth the reasons for the determination and the appropriate remedial
(3) If the Director determines that a violation of the rules
or statutes has occurred in a case where a contract has been awarded, he shall
so inform the protesting party and other interested parties by letter which
sets forth the reasons for the determination, which may include nullifying
(f) The Director's determination on a protest may be appealed
by an interested party to the Secretary of State. An appeal of the Director's
determination must be in writing and must be received in the Secretary of
State's office no later than 10 working days after the date of the Director's
determination. The appeal shall be limited to review of the Director's determination.
Copies of the appeal must be mailed or delivered by the appealing party to
other interested parties and must contain an affidavit that such copies have
(g) The general counsel shall review the protest, Director's
determination, and the appeal and prepare a written opinion with recommendation
to the Secretary of State. Copies of the general counsel's recommendation
shall be mailed to the appealing party, and other interested parties.
(h) When a protest has been appealed to the Secretary of State
under subsection (f) of this section a decision issued in writing by the Secretary
of State shall be the final administrative action of the agency.