Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Earth Resources Technology, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Protest that the agency unreasonably evaluated the protester’s proposal is denied where the evaluation was consistent with the terms of the solicitation and reasonably based.
- Agency reasonably assigned protester unknown confidence for past performance where it did not receive the requisite number of past performance questionnaires required by the solicitation.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Earth Resources Technology, Inc. (ERT) protested the award to EA Engineering; Cape Environmental Management, Inc.; PIKA-MP JV, LLC; Kemron Environmental Services, Inc.; and Plexus-PARS JV, LLC of contracts for environmental services. The RFP contemplated award of five ID/IQ contracts on a best value basis, considering the following evaluation factors: corporate experience (with subfactors for corporate experience and project listing); hypothetical scenario; management; quality/safety; past performance; personnel; and price. After conducting a best value analysis, the agency selected the five most highly technically rated offers for award.
The GAO first found without merit ERT’s protest of its evaluation under the hypothetical scenario evaluation factor, noting that ERT was objecting to statements allegedly made by the agency in its debriefing, and not the evaluation record. It pointed out that there is no requirement that a proposal that complies with solicitation requirements without any weaknesses receive all available evaluation credit. The GAO then found unobjectionable the agency’s rating of unknown confidence to ERT because it did not receive the five past performance questionnaires required by the RFP. Finally, based on its ninth place rating (with only the top seven being considered in the trade-off decision), the GAO found that ERT was not an interested party to object to award to PARS-Plexus JV, rather than Plexus-PARS JV, LLC.
Disappointed offerors should always request a debriefing so as to better understand the reasoning behind the evaluation of their proposals as well as the source selection decision. Should an offeror decide to protest, however, they must focus their objections on information that appears in the debriefing record, rather than oral statements made at the debriefing. The GAO will only review the evaluation record in making its decision, and cannot rely on statements that the protestor alleges the agency made, without further documentation.