Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Richen Management, LLC
Agency: General Services Administration
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protests challenging the terms of solicitations for the provision of services by arguing that the agency improperly failed to provide the names of the incumbent contractor’s subcontractors, service call log information and more detailed repair history information–where the agency found the requested information to be proprietary or not subject to release–are denied where the solicitation, along with the agency’s answers to offerors’ questions, provided sufficient information to allow offerors to compete intelligently and on a relatively equal basis.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Richen Management, LLC protested the terms of RFPs for janitorial and maintenance services at the Federal Building & Post Office and the Social Security Administration Office Building in Montpelier, Vermont, as well as for operations and maintenance services at various U.S. Border Stations in Maine. The RFPs were issued as small business set-asides and contemplated awards on a best-value basis considering the factors of price, past performance, experience, management plan, and environmental consideration plan. During the Q&A period for each RFP, Richen inquired as to the incumbent subcontractor for each requirement and requested to see service request records. Richen’s requests were denied, and these protests followed.
The GAO found that the agency had provided sufficiently detailed information in both RFPs to allow offerors to compete intelligently and on a relatively equal basis. It disagreed with Richen that the agency’s decision to withhold the incumbent’s subcontractor’s names, as well as the service call log information and more detailed repair history data, hindered Richen’s ability to submit an intelligent proposal. It found that the agency had acted reasonably in declining to release subcontractor information on the grounds that it is proprietary information or otherwise not subject to release. Finally, the GAO found no basis on which to conclude that the agency demonstrated a preference for the incumbent contractor.
Agencies are required to provide sufficient detail in a solicitation to enable offerors to compete intelligently and on a relatively equal basis. However, they are not required to provide such detail that all uncertainties are removed from the minds of every offeror. Incumbents may take advantage of the knowledge gained by the performance of the contract without any obligation on the agency to disseminate that information to other offerors.