Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of MRI Technologies, regarding the award of a contract to S&K Global Solutions, LLC (SKG), under a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), for the Engineering Product Integration Contract (EPIC).
The RFP was amended a total of six times seeking proposals to provide support for NASA’s Engineering Directorate. The statement of work (SOW) required the contractor to provide computer support, strategic and organizational planning, and configuration management and project facilitation. The RFP included the following factors: (1) technical acceptability; (2) past performance; and (3) price. Technical acceptability included the following subfactors: management and staffing plan; phase-in plan; technical approach; total compensation plan; and safety and health plan. The RFP also provided that around the third year of performance, the help desk would be transferred from TO1 and TO3 to TO4, and therefore, offerors had to explain their approach to the four sample task orders.
MRI argued that the agency unreasonably concluded that its proposal was unacceptable under the technical approach subfactor, and specifically, the agency’s evaluation of proposed staffing for the help desk. The agency found that MRI’s initial offer did not adequately explain the transition to TO4 and during discussions, asked the protester to address the concern. In its final proposal revision, MRI reduced its TO4 staffing and stated that it would keep the TO1 resources. MRI never explained the basis for the reduction in staffing and GAO agreed with the agency that MRI’s proposal was insufficient.
MRI also argued that if the agency reasonably concluded that its proposal was unacceptable, the agency failed to meet obligations to provide for meaningful discussions. GAO found that NASA advised MRI of its concern and because of the deficiency in MRI’s proposal, which was introduced in its post-discussions revised proposal, the agency had no obligation to conduct further discussions.