Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest of agency’s evaluation of protester’s key personnel is denied where the record shows that the agency reasonably found that some of the protester’s key personnel failed to satisfy minimum requirements identified in the solicitation.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PWC) protested the issuance to Deloitte & Touche LLP (D&T) of a task order for financial management support services. The RFQ provided that award would be made on a best value basis, with the technical capability factor being more important than the past performance factor, both of which combined were significantly more important than price. The technical capability factor contained three subfactors, in descending order of importance: technical approach, key personnel, and corporate experience. Certain positions were identified as key personnel in the RFQ, and vendors were required to provide resumes demonstrating that their candidates had the required number of years of relevant experience. The SSA determined that PWC was ineligible for award because it did not meet the key personnel experience requirements.
The GAO did not agree with PWC that the RFQ allowed vendors to submit resumes for key personnel that did not satisfy the solicitation’s minimum experience requirements. It rejected PWC’s argument that the RFQ permitted a sliding scale evaluation of key personnel along a continuum of satisfaction of the SOW, rather than the pass/fail test the agency applied. The GAO pointed out that the RFQ informed offerors that key personnel were required to possess a minimum number of years of experience, and concluded that the agency was reasonable in determining that PWC’s quotation was technically unacceptable.
Vendors bear the burden of submitting quotations that comply with all terms of the RFQ. Where an RFQ provides for specific experience or qualifications for key personnel, vendors must ensure that their proposed key personnel do in fact meet the criteria. Failure to provide qualified personnel may render a quotation technical unacceptable, and vendors may not be provided the opportunity to revise their quotation.