Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: United States Agency for International Development
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of Pillar Systems Corporation based on the award of a contract to Highlight Technologies, under a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the United States Agency for International Development (AID), for system support services at the AID Office of Acquisition and Assistance, in Washington, D.C.
The RFP sought an 8(a) small business contractor to provide support services including task management, automation support, reporting, electronic commerce and web design, administrative support for the credit card program and budget, human resources, information technology, and administrative support. The award was for a fixed-price contract for one-year with two one-year options. Offerors were advised that the agency would consider technical approach, personnel, past performance, and price.
Pillar argued that there was significant evidence that Pillar’s former employees cooperated with Highlight to assist it in obtaining the award. Pillar also stated that a former project manager, who is now employed by Highlight, claimed responsibility for writing portions of the proposal, thereby giving rise to an organization conflict of interest (OCI). However, GAO concluded that Pillar could not identify any hard facts indicating the existence, or potential evidence of a conflict. Pillar argued that declarations submitted by the contracting officer’s representative, contracting officer, and former project manager were unsworn and contradicted by sworn statements of the proposal writer hired by Pillar. GAO found the evidence insufficient to conclude there was a conflict. The record also provided that the agency performed a thorough analysis of Pillar’s allegations and reasonably concluded that no OCI’s existed.