Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Disposition: Protest denied.
Agency reasonably determined that protester’s proposal for road reconditioning work did not provide sufficient detail regarding the accomplishment of the work and was therefore technically unacceptable.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
The protester argues that its proposal was unreasonably rejected as technically unacceptable. GAO states that in reviewing protests of alleged evaluations and source selections, GAO examines the record to determine whether the agency judgment was reasonable and in accord with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement laws. It is an offeror’s responsibility to submit a well-written proposal, with adequately detailed information which clearly demonstrates compliance with the solicitation and allows a meaningful review by the procuring agency. In this regard, an offeror must affirmatively demonstrate the merits of its proposal and risks the rejection of its proposal if it fails to do so. A protester’s mere disagreement with the agency’s evaluation provides no basis to question the reasonableness of the evaluators’ judgments.
In evaluating Kesler’s technical proposal, the agency conducted a detailed analysis of the feasibility of the time frame proposed by the protester based on the equipment and personnel that the protester indicated in its proposal that would be devoted to the project, as well as the road length and road conditions along the haul route and through the project area. Due to the lack of clear and consistent language in Kesler’s technical proposal regarding its equipment, certain assumptions were made by the agency, for example, the agency’s analysis was based on Kesler using the three “belly dumps” identified on its equipment list, none of which listed capacity information. GAO finds that the agency’s analysis of Kesler’s proposal is supported by the record and is based on a fair reading of Kesler’s proposal. For example, Kesler’s proposal did not list any end dump trucks on its equipment list and its proposal made no mention of its intent to create an aggregate stockpile, despite the solicitation instructions to “[a]ddress who, what, where, when and how you plan to do the work, from beginning to end.” The agency also found that the lack of information in Kesler’s proposal regarding its plan to reinforce the timber bridge made it impossible to determine if the plan would function as required. In this regard, the only detail provided by the protester in its technical proposal was the following statement: “[w]e are going to reinforce the existing bridge by using large timbers and/or steel I beams as supports.” From this, the agency could not determine exactly how the protester planned to reinforce the bridge. In fact, during the evaluation of the protester’s bridge plan, each of the two evaluators envisioned Kesler reinforcing the bridge using different methods, given the limited description in Kesler’s proposal. In light of the proposal instructions to include detailed information and methods planned for reinforcing the bridge, GAO finds this agency evaluation judgment was reasonable. The protest is denied.