Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: United States Marine Corps
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of NANA Services, LLC, regarding the award of a contract to the Hawaii Department of Human Services, DBA Ho’opono Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, of Honolulu, Hawaii, a state licensing agency (SLA) for the blind, under a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) for food services at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
The RFP provided for the award of a five-year contract to the offeror whose proposal provided the best value to the government, considering past performance, technical, and price factors. The offerors were also adviseed that the Randolph Sheppard Act (RSA) applied, which provided specific rules regarding the operation of cafeterias.
The protester first argues that the agency unreasonably determined that SLA’s price was fair and reasonable. The protester cited a Joint Report from 2006 that states that an SLA should be given priority under the RSA for cafeteria contracts only after the agency has determined that the price is fair and reasonable. The agency argued that the SSA appropriately determined SLA’s price fair and reasonable after comparing it with the price offered by other offerors, and with the government estimate. GAO added that until regulations are implemented, a Joint Report is the equivalent of internal agency guidance, which holds little weight. Also, the FAR states that a comparison with the government and other offerors’ prices is an appropriate method to establish reasonableness of price.
Next, NANA argues that the SLA’s proposal should have been excluded where the technical evaluation board (TEB) evaluated it as unsatisfactory. However, the SSA disagreed with the TEB and gave GAO a detailed analysis as to why it disagreed and why it reassigned the proposal ratings of good. GAO concluded that it had no reason to question the SSA’s findings.