Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: ITT Systems Corporation
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest Sustained.
Protest that agency misevaluated proposals for a cost reimbursement contract is sustained where the record shows that there was no logical connection between the agency’s technical evaluation conclusions and its most probable cost evaluation conclusions, and there is no information in the record to explain the apparent discrepancies between the technical and cost evaluations.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
ITT Systems Corporation protested the issuance of a task order to Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, Inc. to provide logistics support services at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Offerors were advised that award would go to the proposal giving the “best value” to the government, with the mission suitability evaluation factor being significantly more important than other evaluation factors. ITT objected to the agency’s upward adjustment of proposals while performing its most probable cost evaluation, without providing explanations for why the adjustments were made.
The GAO noted that the agency made significant changes to the offerors’ proposed staffing for cost evaluation purposes, but failed to provide any explanation as to why the changes were made. It found no apparent connection between the agency’s technical evaluation findings and its cost evaluation findings, resulting in disparate treatment of the two firms when the agency assigned a technical evaluation weakness for overstaffing in one firm but not the other. It concluded that the record did not support the agency’s evaluation of proposals and sustained the protest, recommending that the agency reevaluate proposals and consider holding discussions.
Unsuccessful offerors should request a debriefing to fully understand the reasoning behind the agency’s evaluation of proposals. While a debriefing allows an offeror to learn from its mistakes and better understand how to approach obtaining contracts in the future, the debriefing may also uncover improper evaluations by the agency in making its award. Unsuccessful offerors should ensure that the agency adhered to the evaluation criteria described in the RFP, and that all evaluations were adequately supported in the record.