Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Quasars, Inc.
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest challenging the nonselection of a vendor for award of a blanket purchase agreement is denied, where quotation was lower rated and higher priced than selected vendors, and the agency reasonably determined that quotation failed to contain sufficient information to, among other things, demonstrate technical capability.
General Counsel PC:
Quasars, Inc. protested the agency’s decision not to award it a contract under an RFQ for scientific, engineering, and technical assistance (SETA) support for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). The RFQ was issued to FSS Schedule 871 holders, and sought to award multiple BPAs for a five-year ordering period. Awards would be made on a best value basis, considering socioeconomic status, demonstrated technical capability, management approach, past performance, and price. If a vendor planned on performing as a contractor team arrangement (CTA), the vendor was required to submit supporting documentation of its CTA, including identifying the team leader, providing all FSS contract numbers, and describing the services to be performed by each team member.
The GAO disagreed with Quasars that the agency ignored the technical and management capabilities of its team members, pointing out that, although the agency considered the experience of all three team members, significant informational deficiencies in Quasars’ quotation prevented the agency from determining how the asserted capabilities would transform into accomplishments for performing the requirements. The GAO also noted that Quasars did not establish in its quotation that the team members had adequate radiological or nuclear experience, creating performance risk should Quasar lose the one team member with experience.
Vendors bear the burden of submitting an adequately written quotation which complies with the terms of the solicitation. Whether proposing a CTA or a prime/subcontractor relationship, vendors must ensure that they thoroughly explain how they plan to coordinate performance among their teaming partners and detail the roles and responsibilities of each partner. If the agency has concerns about the ability of your team to fulfill the needs of the contract, it may assign weaknesses or deficiencies which it is not obligated to provide the opportunity to correct through discussions.