Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Digital Technologies, Inc.
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency
Disposition: Protest Sustained.
Protest challenging agency’s price realism evaluation is sustained where agency failed to consider proposed prices from all offerors in its analysis (as required by the terms of the solicitation) and agency’s rationale for finding protester’s prices unrealistic is not otherwise supported by the record.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
Digital Technologies, Inc. (DTI) protested the award to Sotec Government Solutions, Inc. (SGS) of a contract for computer hardware maintenance support. The RFP indicated that award would be made on a “best value” basis, considering technical capability/approach, past performance, and price. The RFP stated that the agency would evaluate price based on comparative, competitive pricing among the offerors. The agency considered only the DTI and SGS proposals, as well as the independent government estimate (IGE), when it conducted the price evaluation and best value trade-off analysis.
The GAO agreed that the agency did not have a reasonable basis for its determination that DTI’s proposed price was unrealistically low and posed a performance risk. The GAO pointed out that had the agency compared DTI’s price with the five offerors other than SGS, it would have found DTI’s prices realistic, as DTI and the other offerors’ prices were clustered together. The GAO also noted that DTI would not be subject to the same potential parts shortages accounted for in the IGE as DTI was teamed with the original equipment manufacturer. The GAO recommended that the agency perform a price evaluation in line with RFP and make a new source selection decision.
Disappointed offerors should request a debriefing so as to understand the agency’s source selection decision. Should the evaluation ratings received fail to comply with the evaluation criteria identified in the RFP, there may be grounds for a successful protest.