Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Disposition: Protest denied.
Protest that agency misevaluated protester’s proposal is denied where record shows that agency’s evaluation was reasonable and consistent with terms of solicitation and applicable statutes and regulations.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
JSR first asserts that, while it did not provide examples of aerial infrared survey past performance, this is because, it claims, the agency advised–in a list of bidder questions and answers posted to the FedBizOpps website following a preproposal meeting–that on-roof, as opposed to aerial infrared surveys, was the preferred method for performing of the contract. JSR concludes that it should not have been penalized in the evaluation for failing to demonstrate aerial infrared survey experience. GAO states that in considering protests challenging the evaluation of proposals, GAO will not reevaluate proposals; rather, GAO will examine the record to determine whether the agency’s evaluation conclusions were reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation and applicable procurement laws and regulations.
The evaluation here was unobjectionable, because GAO finds that the RFP required aerial infrared surveys. First, in this regard, the agency issued two amendments, labeled as such, during the course of the acquisition, neither of which related to–or changed–the central requirements of the procurement for the performance of an aerial survey and the provision of a web-based, password protected updatable database. In contrast, the questions and answers to which the protester refers were not identified as an amendment to the solicitation but, rather, appear to have been provided only for informational purposes. There thus was no reasonable basis for the protester to assume that the questions and answers were intended to amend the solicitation requirements.
JSR next asserts that the agency unreasonably found that it had not previously provided a web-based, password protected, updatable database, along with training. According to the protester, one of its past performance examples was for a contract that included the provision of such a database. The evaluation in this area was unobjectionable. JSR’s proposal included four past performance projects (plus two projects performed by its proposed subcontractor). The agency received past performance questionnaires for only two of the projects, neither of which the project under which JSR claims it was provided a web-based, password protected updatable database, plus training. The record shows that the agency telephonically contacted the reference for which JSR claims to have furnished a qualifying database. The reference provided answers to a number of questions, and stated that, although his concern’s contract had included a database, it was kept current not by his organization, but by JSR; that he did not know whether the database was interactive or web-based; that he did not know whether it was a commercial, off-the-shelf software product or one adapted to his company’s needs; that he did not know whether it could be easily updated; and that JSR had not provided training for use of the database to personnel within his organization. Given this information, the agency could reasonably conclude that JSR had not demonstrated that it had provided a qualifying database. It follows that the agency reasonably downgraded JSR’s proposal in this area. The protest is denied.