Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protests sustained.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO sustained the protests of Mission Essential Personnel, LLC (MEP), regarding the issuance of two task orders to L-3 STRATIS, under a task order request for proposals (RFP), issued by the Department of the Army, to acquire intelligence support services in Afghanistan.
MEP and L-3 were two holders of contracts for the agency’s ongoing intelligence support services. The RFP provided that MEP and L-3 were governed by the underlying contracts, specifically the provision that provided for the assignment of ratings of either “Go” or “No Go,” based on technical acceptability.
After receiving a “No Go” rating, MEP argued that the agency unreasonably assigned weaknesses to its proposals and did not discuss the concerns with MEP. GAO found that even if the weaknesses were reasonable, the agency was required to raise its concerns in discussions. Therefore, GAO found the discussions to be unfair where the record showed that the agency identified weaknesses that formed the underlying basis for an assignment of a “No Go” rating, and the agency should have brought the weaknesses to MEP’s attention.
The agency also concluded that MEP’s “fill rate” did not meet the required 90% fill rate and MEP argued that the agency’s evaluation is not in accordance with the terms of the underlying contract. GAO agreed with the protester that the terms of the underlying contract required an examination of performance over the life of the contract, not during an unspecified more recent interval. Therefore, GAO found that the agency’s evaluation of performance during a three-month interval was improper and inconsistent with the terms of the underlying contracts.