Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protest sustained.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO sustained the protest of Sayres & Associates Corporation, regarding the issuance of a task order to Client Solutions Architects LLC (CSA), by the Department of the Navy, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), under a task order request for proposals (TORP) for program management, business management, and executive level support services.
The TORP was issued as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business set-aside for management support services for three Navy SPAWAR programs. The task order was to be issued on a best value basis considering the following technical factors: organizational experience; personnel experience; technical approach; management approach; and past performance.
Sayres argued that the Navy improperly assigned its proposal a weakness under the management approach factor. Sayres first argued that the agency’s assignment of a significant weakness related to its presentation of two personnel allocation tables, which the agency concluded were contradictory. GAO stated that, on the record and after a reasonable review of the tables, the protester clearly responded to the TORP’s requirements to identify personnel and experience on past performance reference contracts. The agency’s conclusion that the total staffing levels between tables 5 and 6 were contradictory was unreasonable.
Sayres then argued that the Navy was unreasonable in assigning it a weakness based on positions it proposed. The Navy found that the positions were not required by the PWS or reflected in Labor estimates in the TORP. Sayres challenged the Navy’s position, stating that the TORP mandated the proposal of personnel in a program manager labor category. GAO again agreed with Sayres and rejected the Navy’s argument. GAO stated that the TEB’s conclusion, that program manager positions were not reflected in the TORP, was unreasonable where the TORP specified a program manager labor category with 3,000 labor hours in the base year and 4,000 labor hours in later years.
Finally, Sayres contested the best value tradeoff decision. GAO found that the record reflected that the decision was premised in part on an unreasonable assignment of a significant weakness and on the assignment of another weakness, which was inconsistent with the terms of the TORP. Correction of the errors could improve Sayres’ evaluation rating.