Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Protesting the Terms of a Solicitation; Best Value
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: An agency has the discretion to determine its needs and the best way to meet them, including broad discretion in selecting evaluation criteria.
In a request for quotations (RFQ) by the Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, for award of multiple blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), issued as a total set-aside for Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) small business concerns for crew carrier bus services, Crewzers Fire Crew Transport, Inc. protested the terms of the RFQ prior to submitting its proposal. Crewzers filed the protest claiming that the selection of vendors should have been decided on a best value basis, rather than on a low-priced, technically acceptable basis.
By the terms of the RFQ, the Forest Service intended to award multiple BPAs to vendors whose quotations included a “reasonable price and resources that are technically acceptable.” Once the BPAs are established, the RFQ provided that orders would first be placed with HUBZone small business concerns, then with the remaining small businesses.
GAO stated that an agency has the discretion to determine its needs and the best way to meet them, including broad discretion in selecting evaluation criteria. GAO reviewed the record and found that the agency reasonably considered the alternative methods for establishing and ranking BPAs and its determination to use a low-priced, technically acceptable approach was reasonable. GAO denied the protest.