Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Interior
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of Environment International Ltd. (EI), regarding the award of a task order to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), by the National Parks Service (NPS), Department of the Interior under a request for quotations (RFQ) for environmental compliance audits at 49 NPS sites located in the NPS’s Pacific West Region.
The current RFQ contemplated the award of a fixed-price task order for one base year and four one-year options, based on price and technical considerations. The evaluation factors included compliance with solicitation requirements and technical excellence, price, experience, management and key personnel, and past performance.
EI challenges the evaluation of its proposal. First, EI argues that the agency’s evaluation was unreasonable with regard to the technical excellence factor, on which it received a four out of 10. GAO stated, after examining several specific examples, that even if EI were to merit a higher score under this factor based on the elimination of the weakness concerning on-site interviews, there was no possibility of prejudice arising from this issue because the awardee’s quotation remained higher-rated under the experience and the management and key personnel factors, and equal under the past performance factor. Therefore, GAO concluded that there was no merit to the protester’s challenges regarding these factors.
Next, EI contests the reasonableness of the agency’s evaluation of its quotation under the experience factor. GAO found that the agency reasonably evaluated EI’s quotation in accordance with the RFQ with regard to experience. An agency may reasonably consider whether an offeror has specific experience directly related to the work to be performed under the solicitation, even if such experience is not explicitly called for in the solicitation. The RFQ expressly stated that the agency would evaluate “similar environmental audits,” therefore GAO concluded that there was no reason to question the agency’s evaluation with regard to this matter.
Finally, EI argues that the agency’s evaluation with regard to the management and key personnel factor was unreasonable. The record shows that while the protester’s quotation contained numerous resumes and references, it lacked a work plan or other means that demonstrated its understanding of the scheduling and project management necessary to accomplish the work or ability to complete the project on-time.