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Bid Protests Skyrocked

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By Robert Brodsky

The number of contract protests filed with the Government Accountability Office soared in 2009, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The GAO reported that it received 1,989 bid protests last year, up 20 percent from the 1,652 filed in 2008.

The increase is not altogether surprising as GAO's jurisdiction recently expanded. Companies can now file protests on task orders [139 filings in 2009], A-76 outsourcing decisions [16 filings in 2009] and Transportation Security Administration contracts [13 filings in 2009]. These three categories represented 50 percent of the total increase in protest filings from 2008 to 2009, the GAO said in its annual report to Congress.

While the number of protests jumped dramatically, the sustainment rate actually declined. The GAO ruled in favor of the protestor 18 percent of the time last year, compared to 21 percent in 2008. An additional 149 were settled through a process known as alternative dispute resolution, up from 78 the year before.

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