Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: MedVet Development LLC
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest of cancellation of a solicitation after receipt of proposals and discussions is denied where the record shows that the agency reasonably concluded that the solicitation would not meet the agency’s needs.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
MedVet Development LLC protested the cancellation of a solicitation for offers (SFO) to lease of space for a community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) in LaFayette, Louisiana, and to resolicit the requirement. Following evaluation of initial offers, the agency determined that only MedVet would be included in the competitive range and conducted discussions with MedVet for six months. The agency then determined that the SFO in Lafayette and that for another CBOC in Lake Charles, Louisiana, were defective because they were based on an outdated form and deviated substantially from the GSA’s regulations for the leasing of real property. The agency therefore chose to cancel the SFO and resolicit.
The GAO found that the record supported the agency’s assertion that the SFO was not consistent with current GSA leasing regulations, noting as an example that leases for property in excess of 10,000 square feet must be publicized on FedBizOpps, which was not done with this SFO. The GAO found no merit to MedVet’s argument that failure to publicize a procurement on FedBizOpps is not a valid justification for cancellation, pointing out that agencies have an obligation under CICA to obtain full and open competition. The GAO also noted that the SFO did not address a number of agency requirements, including current sustainable design and energy efficiency for LEED-Silver equivalency as well as the agency’s most recent physical security criteria.
Agencies have broad discretion to cancel solicitations in negotiated procurements, even after proposals have been submitted and evaluated. So long as the agency had a reasonable basis for the cancellation, the GAO is unlikely to sustain a protest objecting to a cancellation.