Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Best value determination
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: An Agency’s best value determination is give significant deference by GAO. GAO will not reevaluate a protester’s proposal but will determine only whether the Agency evaluation was reasonable.
The Department of the Army issued a request for proposals (RFP) to award several 8(a) small business set-aside indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity task order contracts for design-build services for the Corps of Engineer’s Mobile, Alabama customers. Dorado Services, Inc. was not one of the eight offerors that was awarded a task order contract, and after a written debriefing from the agency, Dorado filed a protest claiming that it received an unreasonably low rating for its organization factor.
By the terms of the RFP, offerors were to be evaluated on “best value” basis that considered price, past performance, organization, and past safety performance. Under the organization factor, Dorado received a “satisfactory” rating, which, when combined with the ratings on the other factors, put Dorado outside of the range of offerors that they considered offered the best value to the government. The Agency made award to the top 8 offerors out of 35 offers. Dorado’s offer was ranked number 9 overall, but was the lowest in evaluated price.
The agency identified two weaknesses in Dorado’s proposal that resulted in the “satisfactory” rating: (1) there was only a very general discussion of its home office and lines of authority, and its corporate structure was not adequately discussed; and (2) the discussion of the firm’s capabilities and commitment to provide home office support to its design team was found to be lacking.
Because the protest alleged a challenge to the agency’s evaluation, GAO’s review was limited to determining whether the evaluation as reasonable and consistent with the terms of the RFP and applicable procurement statutes and regulations. For both areas of weakness identified in Dorado’s proposal, GAO found that the evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s terms. With regards to the first weakness, the proposal made reference to “three highly qualified individuals” that would lead the project delivery teams, but then went on to identify only two in any detail. This section of the proposal was also found to be vouched in generalities and did not specifically address RFP requirements.
As for the second weakness, the proposal is absolutely silent with regard to the firm’s capabilities and commitment to support its design and on-site management teams. This component was a specific requirement of the RFP, and by Dorado’s failure to include it, GAO determined that the agency had awarded a proper evaluation rating, and denied Dorado’s protest.