Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: IAP-Hill, LLC
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Protest challenging agency’s evaluation of proposals is denied where record shows that agency’s evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation and applicable statutes and regulations.
- Protest that solicitation included a latent ambiguity is denied where protester’s reading of the solicitation is not reasonable.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
IAP-Hill, LLC protested the award to Fluor Federal Solutions, LLC (FFS) of a contract for base operating services at three military installations in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Award was to be made on a best value basis, with six equally weighted, non-price factors collectively being approximately equal to price. The agency received ten proposals, from which it engaged in several discussions with nine of the offerors. IAP was ranked highest under the non-price factors and submitted the fourth lowest price; FFS’s proposal was ranked second under the non-price factors and submitted the second lowest price.
The GAO first found without merit IAP’s claim that the agency improperly attributed the experience and past performance of FFS’s parent company and affiliated concerns to FFS, noting that agencies are permitted to attribute such experience to the offeror where the proposal demonstrates that the resources of the parent or affiliate will affect the performance of the offeror. The GAO also found without merit IAP’s challenge to the evaluation of FFS’s proposed staffing. It disagreed with IAP’s claim that, as the incumbent, its own proposed labor mix should have been the standard against which all offerors’ proposals should be compared. Finally, the GAO found unreasonable IAP’s claim that there was a latent ambiguity in the RFP regarding the wage rates to be applied to proposals due to an amendment that incorporated a new CBA. Although the CBA provided for escalated wage rates, all offerors other than IAP, consistent with the terms of the RFP, did not use escalated rates in the option years. The GAO found that, to the extent that IAP believed that the amendment altered the proposal preparation instructions regarding wage rates, this was a patent ambiguity that should have been raised prior to proposal submissions.
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.