Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Native Resource-Rowe Joint Venture
Agency: General Services Administration
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Price/technical tradeoff was reasonable where agency determined that protester’s minor technical advantage was not worth the associated additional cost.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Native Resource-Rowe Joint Venture (NR-RJV) protested the award to Allied National Services, Inc. of a contract for janitorial, grounds maintenance, and related maintenance services for the North Los Angeles Federal Building and the Huntington Park Social Security Administration Federal Building in Los Angeles, California. The RFP, issued as an 8(a) small business set-aside, contemplated award to the offeror whose proposal was most advantageous to the government considering experience, past performance, and price. While NR-RJV had a higher technical score than Allied, NR-RJV’s fourth low price was 16.7% higher than Allied’s price.
The GAO found nothing unreasonable in the agency’s determination that Allied’s proposal represented the best value to government. Although NR-RJV argued, based entirely on its higher overall technical score, that the difference between the overall technical merits of the two proposals was significant, the GAO pointed out that there was no basis to conclude that the 1.4-point difference in scores represented a finding by the TEB of NR-RJV’s technical superiority.
In conducting best value procurements, agencies have considerable discretion in determining how much additional cost the agency is willing to incur to obtain the benefit of a higher-rated proposal. The GAO will generally defer to the agency’s decision so long as it is reasonable and adequately documented in the record. Disappointed offerors must remember that the numerical difference between technical scores may not reflect the difference in technical merit.