Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Justice
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of NCI Information Systems, Inc., regarding the issuance of a task order to IntelliDyne, LLC, by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for information technology services supporting the agency’s Antitrust Division.
DOJ issued a solicitation to contractors under the agency’s Information Technology Support Services 4 (ITSS-4) Multiple Award Contract. The solicitation provided for the issuance of a time-and-materials task order for various facilities management functions and information technology support services for the Antitrust Division’s District of Columbia locations, field offices and temporary remote sites for an 11-month base period and five option years. With respect to the technical approach and a staffing plan factor, vendors were instructed to describe the technical approach and proposed solution to accomplish the SOW requirements. With respect to staffing, vendors were instructed to describe their staffing plans for accomplishing the SOW requirements and to provide a staffing chart, broken out by SOW tasks. This chart was required to show the vendor’s staffing plan in terms of level of effort (staffing mix, skill levels, and number of hours per labor category) that would be utilized to complete each SOW task. Another one of the SOW requirements that vendors were required to address was for help desk and problem management services. In this regard, vendors were informed that the contractor would be required to provide help desk services by telephone and e-mail for approximately 825 agency end users in the Washington, D.C. area.
NCI challenged the agency’s evaluation of its quotation, in which DOJ concluded that NCI was proposing to use the help desk as a “call handling center” and intended to pass most problems to more senior NCI personnel. NCI argued that this conclusion was improper, contending that its quotation indicated that the majority of calls received by the help desk would be performed by help desk personnel. NCI also challenged the agency’s conclusion that NCI in its revised quotation had increased its help desk staff with no explanation as to how the additional staff would function. However, GAO concluded that the record showed that the agency had good reasons to be concerned with NCI’s help desk approach. Although NCI increased its help desk staffing in response to DOJ’s discussions, the firm failed to explain how the additional staff would be used. Also, GAO found that despite the protester’s arguments to the contrary, NCI did not demonstrate that it would not be using the help desk as a “call handling center.” Moreover, as the agency states and the record shows, the protester in its original and revised submission only discussed the call handling requirement of the help desk function and did not indicate whether or how it was going to perform all the other numerous responsibilities of the help desk function. Given these issues in its quotation GAO found the agency’s evaluation concerns about NCI’s quotation were reasonable.