Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Protest of evaluation of protester’s proposal as marginal is denied where proposal failed to provide adequate support for protester’s exception to stated range of personnel required for performance of sample task order.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: PST asserts that the agency misevaluated its proposal and unreasonably rated it as marginal. Specifically, PST challenges the reasonableness of the source selection evaluation board’s (SSEB) assignment of a significant weakness under the sample task order (STO) subfactor and a weakness under the staffing and training subfactor. GAO states that in considering a protest of an agency’s proposal evaluation, GAO’s review is confined to determining whether the evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation and applicable statutes and regulations. A protester’s mere disagreement with the agency’s evaluation does not provide a basis for sustaining a protest.
As to the suite 1 STO (STO 1), the RFP advised offerors to assume a range of 23-31 contractor manpower equivalents (CME) at 2,080 hours per year. Offerors were required to meet all RFP requirements and were warned that failure to do so could result in an offer being ineligible for award. If offerors found it necessary to take exception to a requirement, they were required to provide a complete explanation of why the exception was taken, what benefit would accrue to the government, and its impact, if any, on the performance, schedule, cost, and specific requirements of the RFP. In its proposal, PST took exception to the CME level established in the solicitation for STO 1. In evaluating PST’s STO 1 proposal, the SSEB assigned it a significant weakness because PST failed to accurately assess the manpower required to perform the work. The SSEB found PST’s reduced staffing level to represent a significant flaw that appreciably increased the risk of unsuccessful contract performance. Based on this weakness, the SSEB rated PST’s proposal as marginal overall for the mission capability factor. Although the protester’s proposal was credited with addressing the STO 1 requirements, as recognized in an assigned strength, PST’s significant weakness was based on its failure to adequately support its exception to the CME range set forth in the solicitation. In this regard, its proposal merely stated that the experience of its team supported its CME level, and it failed to explain the elements of its approach that would permit it to satisfactorily perform the contract requirements with significantly fewer personnel than indicated in the CME range set forth in the solicitation. The protest is denied.