Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Guident Technologies, Inc.
Agency: Defense Information Systems Agency
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Protest that awardee had an unmitigated impaired objectivity organizational conflict of interest was timely filed after the agency selected the awardee for award, notwithstanding the fact that the protester knew, prior to award, that the awardee was competing under the solicitation, and the basis for the alleged conflict.
- Protest is denied where the contracting officer gave meaningful consideration to whether the awardee had an impaired objectivity organizational conflict of interest and there is no clear evidence in the record that the agency’s conclusion was unreasonable.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Guident Technologies, Inc. protested the award to Claraview, a division of Teradata, of a contract for Data Management (DMO), Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) and Business Intelligence (BI) support services for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). Guident argued that Claraview had an impaired objectivity OCI due to its affilitation with Teradata, the vendor providing database management software used in DeCA’s DMO/EDW/BI program.
The GAO first rejected the intervenor’s argument that the OCI claim was untimely, noting that Guident’s claim would have been premature until Claraview was the apparent successful offeror. The GAO agreed with the agency’s argument that there is no basis for Guident’s contention that the contractor will be required to evaluate, analyze, or create business cases with respect to the Teradata piece of the EDW system, or compare it to products that are outside of the EDW environment. The GAO disagreed with Guident’s suggestion that Task 6 could give rise to an OCI because Claraview will need to perform some unspecified evaluation process which implicates Teradata, and also noted that the agency had effectively mitigated the possibility that Task 6 could give rise to an OCI by committing itself to the use of other contracts to procure assistance in updating its hardware and software needs.
Offerors are generally not required to protest the alleged existence of an OCI until the offerors are notified of the agency’s selection decision. However, offerors should remain aware of a decision which held that a protestor who was aware that a company which it believed to have an OCI was not barred from participating in the procurement, that protestor was required to have protested prior to the closing time for the receipt of proposals. Potential offerors should always inquire what company performed any predecessor contract and whether that company is barred from participating in the follow-on contract.