Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: OSC Solutions, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protester’s contention that the agency unreasonably evaluated its past performance as providing satisfactory confidence, instead of substantial confidence, is denied where the record shows that the agency conducted a thorough review of performance assessment reports prepared by both contracting officials with direct knowledge of prior performance and institutional customers with more limited knowledge.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
OSC Solutions, Inc. protested the award to National-General Supply, Inc. (NGSI) of a contract to provide all necessary labor, supervision, equipment, supplies, and materials to support a contractor-operated civil engineering supply store (COCESS) at Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho. The RFP contemplated award to the offeror whose technically acceptable proposal represented the best value to the government. Three of the six offers received were evaluated as technically acceptable, and the SSET evaluated all three offerors as substantial confidence under the past performance factor. Because the SSET did not consider the narrative comments from the CPARs obtained for the offerors, the SSA reconvened the SSET and instructed it to look beyond the adjectival ratings. On reevaluation, the SSET rated OSC’s past performance as satisfactory confidence and NGSI’s and the third offeror’s as substantial confidence. The SSA determined that NGSI’s superior past performance warranted payment of its slightly higher price.
OSC asserted that the past performance evaluation was unreasonable because the SSET ignored OSC’s correction of the problems identified in the CPARs and the exception ratings reflected in its PPQs. The GAO found no reason to object to the past performance evaluation, noting that both the SSET and the SSA considered OSC’s positive and negative performance record as reflected in its PPQs and CPARs. It found reasonable the agency’s placement of more weight on the CPARs, which represented input from the contracting personnel charged with responsibility for management of the contracts, as opposed to the PPQs, which represented the opinions of institutional customers of the COCESS contracts, which were more limited in their interactions with OSC.
Disappointed offerors should always request a debriefing to better understand the evaluation of their proposal, as well as the rationale behind the agency’s source selection decision. When deciding whether to pursue a bid protest, disappointed offerors should carefully consider whether they merely disagree with the agency’s award decision, or whether there appear to be improprieties in the procurement which support pursuing a protest. The GAO will generally reject arguments objecting to the evaluation of proposals so long as the agency has adequately documented its conclusions and those conclusions are reasonable in light of the stated evaluation criteria.