A. Following public opening and announcement of bids received on an Invitation to Bid, the public body shall evaluate the bids in accordance with element 4 of the process for competitive sealed bidding set forth in § 2.2-4302.1. At the same time, the public body shall determine whether the apparent low bidder is responsible. If the public body so determines, then it may proceed with an award in accordance with element 5 of the process for competitive sealed bidding set forth in § 2.2-4302.1. If the public body determines that the apparent low bidder is not responsible, it shall proceed as follows:
1. Prior to the issuance of a written determination of nonresponsibility, the public body shall (i) notify the apparent low bidder in writing of the results of the evaluation, (ii) disclose the factual support for the determination, and (iii) allow the apparent low bidder an opportunity to inspect any documents that relate to the determination, if so requested by the bidder within five business days after receipt of the notice.
2. Within ten business days after receipt of the notice, the bidder may submit rebuttal information challenging the evaluation. The public body shall issue its written determination of responsibility based on all information in the possession of the public body, including any rebuttal information, within five business days of the date the public body received the rebuttal information. At the same time, the public body shall notify, with return receipt requested, the bidder in writing of its determination.
3. Such notice shall state the basis for the determination, which shall be final unless the bidder appeals the decision within ten days after receipt of the notice by invoking administrative procedures meeting the standards of § 2.2-4365, if available, or in the alternative by instituting legal action as provided in § 2.2-4364.The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to procurements involving the prequalification of bidders and the rights of any potential bidders under such prequalification to appeal a decision that such bidders are not responsible.
B. If, upon appeal pursuant to § 2.2-4364 or 2.2-4365, it is determined that the decision of the public body was not (i) an honest exercise of discretion, but rather was arbitrary or capricious or (ii) in accordance with the Constitution of Virginia, applicable state law or regulation, or the terms or conditions of the Invitation to Bid, and the award of the contract in question has not been made, the sole relief shall be a finding that the bidder is a responsible bidder for the contract in question or directed award as provided in subsection A of § 2.2-4364 or both.If it is determined that the decision of the public body was not an honest exercise of discretion, but rather was arbitrary or capricious or not in accordance with the Constitution of Virginia, applicable state law or regulation, or the terms or conditions of the Invitation to Bid, and an award of the contract has been made, the relief shall be as set forth in subsection B of § 2.2-4360.
C. A bidder contesting a determination that he is not a responsible bidder for a particular contract shall proceed under this section, and may not protest the award or proposed award under the provisions of § 2.2-4360.
D. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to require a public body, when procuring by competitive negotiation, to furnish a statement of the reasons why a particular proposal was not deemed to be the most advantageous.
1982, c. 647, § 11-65; 1997, c. 864; 1998, c. 753; 1999, c. 1008; 2001, c. 844; 2013, c. 583.