Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Technical Associates, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest Denied in Part, Dismissed in Part.
- Protest that an agency improperly restricted a procurement to Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) vendors is denied where agency reasonably determined that the solicited items could be procured through the FSS.
- Protester is not an interested party to challenge the terms of a solicitation issued under the FSS program where the protester does not hold an FSS contract.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Technical Associates, Inc. (TAI) protested the terms of an IFB for a reverse auction among vendors holding FSS contracts for no-tangle body harnesses, carabiners, and self-retracting lifelines. TAI did not submit a bid, but protested objecting to the use of FSS procedures, the reverse auction, and the bid opening date.
The GAO found no reason to object to the use of FSS procedures, pointing out that it gives agencies a simplified process for obtaining commonly used commercial supplies and services. It then found that TAI was not an interested party to raise its remaining arguments, as TAI did not hold a relevant FSS contract.
Except in rare cases where the law provides exception, non-FSS vendors cannot challenge an agency’s decision to procure through the FSS. Businesses that deal in the kinds of goods that are regularly procured through the FSS should strongly consider obtaining an FSS contract, both to open up the possibility of bidding on FSS procurements as well as to maintain standing to challenge procurements in the future.