Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protests denied.
Keywords: Cost-Technical Tradeoff
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: A source selection authority’s final decision on a cost-technical tradeoff must be both fully informed and independently made.
Highland Engineering, Inc. (HEI) protests the award of a contract issued by the Department of the Army for lightweight water purifiers. The request for proposals (RFP) was issued based on full and open competition, and provided for award on a “best value” basis considering experience and price. The awardee was given the contract based on a lower price than HEI although HEI received a lower rating for risk for one experience subfactor.
HEI asserts that the Army failed to consider in its price evaluation the awardee’s intent to use government-owned property in performing the contract. However, HEI cannot present any evidence supporting its assertion.
HEI asserts that the Army’s evaluation of the awardee’s experience failed to take into account past performance issues. GAO’s review of the record shows that the Army was not going to evaluate past performance, but experience. Under the terms of the RFP, therefore, there was no basis for the Army to consider the awardee’s past performance.
HEI asserts that the Army’s best value determination improperly failed to take into account the fact that HEI’s proposal received a lower risk rating than the awardee’s under one experience subfactor. GAO states that in making best value decisions, the evaluation results were reviewed and the review board was fully aware of differences in the various contractors’ experience. HEI may disagree with the conclusion, but disagreement does not demonstrate that the conclusions were unreasonable. The protest is denied.