Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Environmental Waste Minimization, Inc.
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest that agency misevaluated protester’s proposal is denied where record supports agency’s evaluation conclusions and protest amounts to no more than disagreement with agency’s scoring of proposal.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
Environmental Waste Minimization, Inc. (EWM) protested the award to Environmental Restoration, LLC (ER) and Kemron Environmental Services, Inc. of contracts for emergency rapid response services. The agency received nine proposals, three of which were included in the competitive range, including EWM’s but neither ER nor Kemron’s proposals. ER and another offeror protested the elimination of their proposals from the competition, in response to which the agency took corrective action, adding ER and Kemron to the competitive range. The agency then engaged in several rounds of discussions and requested three rounds of final proposal revisions.
The GAO found no merit to EWM’s argument that the agency used an improper scoring methodology, noting that the RFP specifically incorporated the agency’s supplemental acquisition regulations which contained the scoring scheme used in these evaluations. The GAO also had no objection to the agency’s rating of EWM’s proposal with regards to the second sample task, finding the agency’s concerns about the lack of certain essential information reasonable. The GAO rejected EWM’s claim that the agency failed to provide it with meaningful discussions. It pointed out that EWM’s argument ignored the purpose of discussions, which are intended to provide each offeror an opportunity to enhance its proposal for award purposes. Because the agency did not identify any concern with EWM’s size status, it was not obligated to discuss the matter with EWM.
When preparing an offer, a firm should make sure it addresses all requirements in the RFP. Where the RFP requests a comprehensive plan in response to a sample scenario, offerors should carefully consider all contingencies and provide detailed information in response. The proposal should be clear and thorough; the agency should not have to make assumptions or fill in any gaps. Failure to adequately explain the proposal or to account for all issues may result in the assessment of a weakness or a lower evaluation score.