Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: General Services Administration
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Competitive Range
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: If there is no reasonable possibility that a proposal will be considered amount the highest rather offers the GAO is not going to sustain a protest absent a very clear showing that the agency acted unreasonably.
GAO denies the protest of SECO Systems, Inc. where its proposal was excluded from the competitive range under a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the General Services Administration (GSA), Public Buildings Service (PBS), for administrative and technical support services for GSA’s Rocky Mountain Region.
SECO challenges its exclusion from the competitive range, arguing that the contracting officer (CO) told SECO that GSA was looking for “over and above strengths,” which SECO’s proposal did not provide. SECO also complains that GSA downgraded SECO’s proposal because the price proposal did not provide a narrative discussion, and because of SECO’s key personnel. GAO states that it will review an agency’s evaluation and exclusion of a proposal from the competitive range for reasonableness and consistency with the solicitation criteria and applicable statutes and regulations. Contracting agencies are not required to retain in the competitive range proposals that are not among the most highly rated or that the agency otherwise reasonably concludes have no realistic prospect of being selected for award. In this regard, a protester’s mere disagreement with an agency’s evaluation and competitive range judgment does not establish that the agency acted unreasonably.
Here, the record establishes no reasonable possibility that SECO’s proposal would be considered to be among the most highly rated offers, even accepting the protester’s arguments concerning its price proposal and key personnel. The agency determined that, contrary to the RFP’s requirements, SECO failed to provide references for two of its key personnel and failed to identify two projects for its past performance. SECO does not challenge the agency’s determination in this regard. Instead, SECO’s arguments focus upon the two statements in the competitive range determination memorandum that it contends are unreasonable. Even accepting SECO’s arguments, however, SECO’s proposal failed to satisfy all of the RFP’s requirements. GAO cannot say based upon this record that SECO’s proposal should have received higher than a marginal rating, given the proposal’s material deficiencies. Furthermore, SECO’s proposal was substantially higher priced than all but one of the offers included in the competitive range, and the one offer that was slightly lower priced was rated significantly higher technically. Although SECO disagrees with the CO’s competitive range judgment, the protester failed to show that the agency unreasonably concluded that SECO’s proposal was not among the most highly rated offers for inclusion in the competitive range. The protest is denied.