Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI)
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: An “impaired objectivity” OCI situation exists where, because of the nature of a firm’s actual or potential work under one contract, it may be unable to provide objective judgments to the government in performing under another government contract.
Serco, Inc. (Serco) protests the award of a contract under a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the Department of the Army, for base operating support integrator management support services.
The RFP contemplates the award of a fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract for a 12-month base period and three, three-month option periods, to perform a variety of management support services at base camps throughout Iraq. The successful offeror will provide management support services in connection with the closure of some installations. The RFP stated that award would go to the low priced, technically acceptable offeror. The Agency reduced the competitive range to three offerors, including Serco. After final proposal revisions, Serco’s proposal was the highest priced of the three. The awardee’s price was the lowest and there was one other offeror, not selected for award, who had a price lower than Serco’s.
Serco asserts that the other two offeror’s have an “impaired objectivity” organizational conflict of interest (“OCI”) because, according to Serco, the RFP contemplates that the contractor will advise the agency concerning decisions about which installations to close. Since the other two offeror’s have other contracts that they perform in Iraq, they cannot objectively advise the agency concerning which installations to close because financial interests would be implicated in any decision.
GAO finds no merit to Serco‘s allegations and states that an “impaired objectivity” OCI situation exists where, because of the nature of a firm’s actual or potential work under one contract, it may be unable to provide objective judgments to the government in performing under another government contract. Here, the sole awardee, according to the contracting officer, will not be in a position to make recommendations to the agency concerning which bases to close. Therefore, there can be no issue of an impairment of the contractor’s objectivity. The agency was under no obligation to evaluate whether the other two offeror’s has such an OCI. The protest is denied.