Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of Contract Services, Inc. (CSI), regarding the award of a contract to ALOG Corporation, under a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the Department of the Army for administrative and facilities support services at Fort Riley, Kansas.
The RFP, issued as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business set-aside, provided for the award of a fixed-price requirements contract for a base year and two option years. Offerors were informed that award would be made on a best value basis, considering the following evaluation factors in descending order of importance: mission capability, past performance, and price. The mission capability factor included two subfactors: management approach and technical approach, which were stated to be of equal weight. The RFP also identified a number of elements that would be considered in evaluating the management approach and technical approach subfactors. For example, the RFP identified the offeror’s approaches to organizational structure, staffing, key personnel, and quality control as elements for evaluation under the management approach subfactor. Instructions were provided for the preparation of proposals under each factor and subfactor. Specifically, offerors were informed that their responses to the mission capability factor were limited to 70 pages and that the agency would not consider pages exceeding that limitation.
CSI first challenges the agency’s evaluation of its and ALOG’s proposals as acceptable under the mission capability factor. GAO stated that the record showed that the agency considered all of CSI’s strengths, and provided an analysis of each in both the SSEB report and the source selection decision, which was consistent with the RFP’s evaluation criteria and adequately documented. The SSA considered all of CSI’s evaluated strengths in assessing the technical merit of CSI’s proposal and whether there were meaningful differences between its and ALOG’s proposals. With respect to ALOG’s proposal, GAO found that while it does not agree with the agency that the RFP advised offerors that the plans submitted with their proposals would be evaluated, both CSI and ALOG submitted detailed plans, in excess of 200 pages in length, that similarly addressed each firm’s technical and management approaches. The agency considered both CSI’s and ALOG’s plans, and appears to have treated the offerors equally. Although CSI objects to the agency’s consideration of the plans in its evaluations, it has not identified any competitive prejudice that it suffered because of such consideration. Rather, CSI generally contends that it could have improved its competitive position in some unspecified way had it known that the agency would evaluate the plans under the mission capability factor.
CSI also contends that the agency’s evaluation of ALOG’s price was unreasonable because its price is too low. However, GAO disagreed, concluding that CSI’s objection did not provide a valid basis to question the agency’s price reasonableness evaluation. Although CSI acknowledged that a price realism analysis was not required, its arguments reflect a lack of understanding as to the distinction between price reasonableness and realism. Here, the RFP states that the agency would only evaluate prices for reasonableness and balance.
CSI finally found fault with the SSA’s best value determination, which found that CSI’s greater number of evaluated strengths were outweighed by ALOG’s $3 million price advantage. The record showed that the SSA recognized that CSI had three more strengths than ALOG under the mission approach subfactor, but determined that they did not warrant CSI’s higher price. Although CSI disagreed with this judgment, its disagreement did not demonstrate that the SSA’s decision was unreasonable, GAO concluded.