Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Defense Logistics Agency
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Technical Evaluation
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: In reviewing protests against allegedly improper evaluations, the GAO will examine the record to determine whether the agency’s determination was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation but will not perform a re-evaluation of the proposal.
McRae Industries, Inc. (McRae) protests the award of a contract under a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the Defense Logistics Agency for temperate weather boots for men and women.
The RFP contemplated the award of a fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract for a base year and four one-year option periods. The RFP included FAR section 52.219-4, which notified potential offeror’s that an evaluation factor of 10% would be added to the price of all proposals except those of small business concerns. The RFP also included a list of non-price factors including: product demonstration model (PDM), past performance/experience, and socioeconomic support.
McRae’s proposal received an overall rating of satisfactory because the contracting officer concluded that the PDM had visual and dimensional defects, and flame resistance test failures that would require preventive corrective action prior to actual production. The contracting officer established a competitive range including all offerors and conducted discussions with each of these offerors. McRae was requested to address all deficiencies, explain how they occurred, and describe the remedy proposed. McRae also was required to certify that the deficiencies would not occur in production if the company received award of the contract.
In its response, McRae lowered its price, provided test results from an independent laboratory indicating that its boots had successfully passed flame resistance testing performed by that laboratory, and questioned whether the agency’s tests were in error. The contracting officer held an additional round of discussions with McRae but eventually determined that the Government’s tests results were valid.
The agency received and evaluated final proposal revisions, which resulted in no changes to the offerors’ technical ratings. T he source selection authority (SSA) performed a detailed comparison of the awardee’s proposal and McRae’s proposal. The SSA ultimately determined that the awardee’s proposal was “slightly superior” due to the fact that the awardee’s PDMs had only two flame resistance testing failures while McRae’s had four.
McRae asserts that the proposals were not reasonably evaluated, and that the agency improperly determined that the awardee’s proposal was superior. GAO states that in reviewing protests against allegedly improper evaluations, it will examine the record to determine whether the agency’s determination was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation and applicable procurement laws and regulations. An offeror’s mere disagreement with agency’s assignment of adjectival ratings, or other aspects of the evaluation, does not render the evaluation unreasonable.
GAO’s review of the record finds that the SSA performed an in-depth analysis of the proposals that reasonably took into account the relative strengths and weaknesses of each one. SSA reasonably determined that the awardee’s proposal was more advantageous to the agency and also lower in price. The protest is denied.