Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protest Sustained
Decided: September 18, 2017
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
Agencies may only purchase services identified and priced on a vendor’s schedule contract.
Summary of Facts
The Department of the Navy issued a request for quotations (RFQ) via the General Services Administration’s (GSA) e-Buy system, pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) subpart 8.4. The RFQ sought temporary lodging, as well as transportation services to civil service mariners assigned to the Military Sealift Command at a naval base in Norfolk, Virginia. The RFQ’s scope of work indicated an average of 120 extended stay hotel rooms within 25 miles of the base, as well as daily round trip transportation to and from the base at predetermined times. Lodging and transportation were identified in the RFQ as separate contract line items (CLINs).
Vendors holding a schedule 48 contract, including Special Item Number (SIN) 653-9, “long term lodging” were invited to submit quotations. The e-Buy system instructed offerors the products and services proposed must be on vendor’s current GSA schedule contract. The task order solicitation requested fixed prices for two CLINs for a base year and four 1 year option periods. The first CLIN sought per day unit prices for lodging. The second CLIN requested per day prices for transportation services.
The Navy received two quotes, one from Bluewater, the protestor, and one from DMC, who was awarded the contract. DMC possessed a single FSS schedule 48 contract with SIN 653-9. Bluewater holds two FSS schedule contracts, including schedule 48, SIN 653-9, as well as one under schedule 599 that Bluewater asserts includes ground transportation services.
Basis for Protest
Bluewater argues transportation is beyond the scope of DMC’s schedule 48 contract. Bluewater argues the Navy failed to consider whether transportation was included in DMC’s schedule contract and this was in error. Finally, Bluewater argues the Navy is precluded from accepting quotes from vendors who’s schedule contract does not include the services sought in the task order.
The Navy argued transportation services were indeed within the scope of DMC’s schedule 48 contract “as ancillary services necessary to complete the lodging requirement.” No evidence or legal authority was provided for this assertion. The Navy also argued transportation could be purchased under direct costs and cites the GSA Ordering Guidelines and a previous GAO decision.
The GAO found the Navy’s arguments lacking. They note the GSA Ordering Guidelines require offerors detail all anticipated ODCs as separate line items with established contract prices. DMC does not have an established contract price, nor is transportation listed on DMC’s schedule. Because DMC’s schedule does not include these services, transportation is beyond the scope of their contract, and the government cannot order or purchase it. The case relied upon by the Navy pertained to open market items and therefore was not relevant to the issue at hand.
Agencies may not lawfully use the FSS ordering procedures to purchase services not included on a given vendor’s schedule contract.