Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: OMNIPLEX World Services Corporation
Agency: Office of Personnel Management
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Agency’s notification to all offerors of a common cutoff date for receipt of proposals has the intent and effect of a request for final revised proposals where all offerors submitted revisions and no offerors were prejudiced.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
OMNIPLEX World Services Corporation protested the award to CACI Premiere, KeyPoint Government Solutions, Inc., and US Investigation Services, LLC (USIS) of contracts for background investigation services. Of the seven proposals received, only those of OMNIPLEX and the three awardees were considered “conditionally acceptable as submitted” and were determined to be in the competitive range. Determining that all the prices were unreasonably high, the agency amended certain solicitation terms and invited new price proposals from the competitive range offerors. In the discussions letter, the agency noted that several changes had been made to the solicitation which it believed will “significantly lower the overall price of the proposal.” (emphasis in original). OMNI’s revised price proposal was substantially higher than its initial proposal, and the agency determined that OMNI’s price precluded it from award.
The GAO disagreed with OMNI’s argument that the agency failed to expressly inform offerors that discussions were concluded and that firms were being given a final opportunity to revise their proposals. It noted that the agency informed offerors to provide a “formal proposal revision” that would become part of any subsequent contract, and that it then extended “the receipt date for proposal revisions.” The GAO also rejected OMNI’s argument that the agency failed to provide meaningful discussions, because OMNI was never informed that its initial price was unreasonably high. The GAO pointed out that the agency amended the requirement and requested revised pricing proposals. The agency had no duty to conduct an additional round of discussions regarding price.
When a solicitation is amended during the procurement process, offerors must be informed of a common cut-off date for the receipt of offers. If the amendment does not specifically request best and final offers, language giving notice to offerors of the common cut-off date has the intent and effect of a request for best and final offers. Offerors should therefore pay attention to all communications from the agency and ensure that they comply with all requests for proposal revisions.