Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Gonzales-Stoller Remediation Services, LLC
Agency: Department of Energy
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protester’s challenges to the agency’s evaluation of its proposal constitute mere disagreements with the agency’s judgments and provide no bases for sustaining the protest where the agency, in accordance with the stated evaluation criteria, reasonably and equally evaluated the proposals and concluded that the awardee’s proposal offered the best value to the government despite its higher price.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Gonzales-Stoller Remediation Services, LLC (GSRS) protested the issuance of a task order to Portage, Inc. for environmental remediation, including excavation and transportation of residual radioactive material (RRM), at the agency’s Moab project site in Utah. Award was to be made to the offeror whose proposal represented the best value to the government, with non-cost factors being significantly more important than cost factors. Although Portage’s proposal was priced at approximately $13 million more than GSRS, the source selection authority (SSA) found that Portage’s proposal was superior to the other proposals under the non-cost evaluation factors.
The GAO agreed with the agency’s determination that GSRS’s proposed cyclical operating approach increased the risk of safety concerns, and that GSRS’s proposed 401(k) plan did not provide adequate incentives to retain skilled workers over the furlough period. The GAO disagreed with GSRS’s assertion that workforce retention was an unstated evaluation factor, noting that agencies are not required to identify all areas of each factor that might be taken into account for an evaluation. The GAO pointed out that the RTP provided for the evaluation of the risks and impacts of an offeror’s approach, and thus the agency could appropriately evaluate the impact of GSRS’s cyclical schedule. The GAO disagreed that the offerors were not treated equally, noting that Portage offered a shorter shutdown and provided a level of detail that was lacking in GSRS’s approach. The GAO also found the agency’s assessment of a weakness to GSRS’s approach to debris handling and transportation reasonable, in light of the lack of detail in GSRS’s proposal.
When preparing an offer, a firm should make sure it provides detailed explanations for each of its proposals, adequately supporting each of its particular plans. Failure to provide sufficient detail may lead to the assessment of weaknesses to that firm’s proposal. An offeror must also ensure that all necessary detail appears in the appropriate volume of the offeror’s proposal. In evaluating one portion of the proposal, the agency is not required to go looking for the requisite information elsewhere.