Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Argus & Black, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Protest that awardee’s quotation failed to provide a fixed price for a particular contract line item (CLIN) is denied where the CLIN provided for the reimbursement of a vendor’s travel costs up to a not-to-exceed amount, to which the awardee did not take exception.
- Protest that an awardee’s quotation was technically unacceptable is denied where the agency reasonably found the awardee’s quotation to be acceptable, consistent with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Argus & Black, Inc. protested the award to Yorktown Systems Group, Inc. of a fixed-price contract to train personnel in security force assistance, Iraqi and Afghan cultural awareness, and personnel recovery. Award was to be made on a lowest-price, technically acceptable basis considering price, technical, and past performance evaluation factors. Vendors were instructed to quote fixed prices for four CLINs. In response to questions from vendors, the agency advised them to use $200,000 as a “plug number” for CLIN 003 travel costs.
The GAO disagreed that Yorktown’s quotation should have been rejected because it did not offer a fixed price for CLIN 003, pointing out that the RFQ merely provided that vendors would be reimbursed their costs up to a not-to-exceed amount of $200,000. The GAO noted that nothing in Yorktown’s quotation indicated that the awardee took exception to this provision. The GAO also found that the agency had reasonably found Yorktown’s quotation to be technically acceptable. Although the agency had identified concerns over Yorktown’s personnel recovery training and failure to mention the relevant FORSCOM guidance, Yorktown fully explained its instruction methodology and how it would ensure that its training would be consistent with all applicable policy guidance.
Disappointed offerors should always request a debriefing to better understand any weaknesses assigned to their proposal, as well as the rationale behind the agency’s source selection decision. When deciding whether to pursue a bid protest, disappointed offerors should carefully consider whether they merely disagree with the agency’s award decision, or whether there appear to be improprieties in the procurement which support pursuing a protest.