Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Estrategy, Inc.
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest of an agency’s award of a contract is denied where the agency reasonably found that the awardee complied with the solicitation’s licensing requirements.
General Counsel PC:
Estrategy, Inc. protested the award to NEIE of a contract for hazardous waste disposal services for the agency’s Sierra Nevada Health Care System. The solicitation, issued as an SDVOSB set-aside, provided that proposals would be evaluated for technical acceptability, past performance, and price. As originally issued, the RFP stated that offerors “shall submit medical waste and license permits” to be considered for award. An amendment to the SOW provided that “[c]opy of all licenses shall be provided to Contracting Officer upon contract award.”
The GAO disagreed with Estrategy’s assertion that the submission of licenses was a definitive responsibility criterion which needed to be satisfied prior to contract award, noting that the RFP was amended to specifically provide that copies of licenses could be provided after award. To the extent that Estrategy argued that there was a conflict between the amendment and the evaluation criteria, the GAO found this to be a patent ambiguity which Estrategy was required to protest prior to the closing date for the receipt of proposals.
Offerors must pay strict attention to the instructions in RFPs regarding proposal preparation. Where amendments to the RFP are issued, offerors must determine the impact that the amendment will have on preparing their proposal. If an amendment creates any sort of ambiguity, offerors must remember that the issue of such ambiguities must be raised prior to the deadline for submission of proposals.