Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Price realism; Past Performance Evaluation
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: Agencies are not required to conduct an in-depth analysis or verify each and every item in conducting a price realism analysis. In a protest, GAO will determine only whether the realism review is reasonable and consistent with the solicitation.
The Department of Homeland Security awarded a contract to Perot Systems Government Services following a request for proposals (RFP) for administrative support services. The RFP provided for the award of a contract on a “best value” basis, while considering several evaluation factors. Following the submission of proposals, a discussion period and an evaluation of final proposal revisions, DHS determined that Perot’s lower price represented the best value to the government, and made the award. CMI Management, Inc. protested, alleging that DHS’s evaluation of its and Perot’s proposals was improper on several grounds.
CMI first challenged DHS’s price realism evaluation of Perot’s proposed price. In relevant part, CMI alleged that Perot proposed fewer hours than the agency had estimated in the RFP, and that the agency did not properly analyze the distribution of lower hours among different labor categories. GAO limited its review of the evaluation to determining whether DHS was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation. During the course of this review, the record revealed that DHS’s business evaluation team (BET) was alerted to the lower proposed hours in Perot’s proposal and raised the issue during the course of discussions. Perot’s response, including its reference to its incumbent subcontract under which it was currently providing services to approximately 50% of the sites, was deemed by the evaluation team to be sufficient. Therefore, GAO concluded that the realism evaluation was reasonable.
Next, CMI challenged DHS’s evaluation of Perot’s past performance. Here, CMI asserted that DHS should have examined each one of Perot’s prior contracts to determine whether each contract met each one of the relevance criteria (similarity in size, scope and technical difficulty) as stated in the RFP. GAO disagreed, saying that the Agency was allowed to determine the extent to which all of Perot’s contracts, their different aspects, in the aggregate, demonstrated relevant performance for purposes of assessing the likelihood of successful performance of the current requirement. GAO notes that to the extent that DHS applied a relaxed standard in evaluating Perot’s past performance, it applied a similar standard to CMI, and thus CMI’s proposal was not prejudiced.
CMI also protested DHS’s rating of Perot under the experience evaluation factor. While CMI challenged Perot’s work on its incumbent subcontract as not involving management, GAO found otherwise. In addition, GAO went on to state that even if CMI’s allegations were correct, that it had not established a meaningful distinction in comparing Perot’s work at other sites. GAO also found that the written record reflected DHS evaluation of Perot’s other contracts in the public and private sector and that CMI had not challenged these.
Finally, CMI protested the evaluation of its own proposal as merely good under one technical subfactor. The GAO found that CMI’s objection was a mere disagreement with the technical evaluation, which by itself does not show that the DHS evaluation was unreasonable.
As such, GAO found all grounds for protest alleged by CMI to be without merit and denied its protest.