Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of State
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of ValidaTek, Inc., based on the Department of State’s (DOS) issuance of a task order to Zolon Tech, Inc., under a request for proposals (RFP) for information technology support services. Participation in the competition was restricted to section 8(a) small disadvantaged vendors holding General Services Administration’s Streamlined Technology Applications Resource for Services (STARS) II government-wide acquisition contracts.
The RFP sought proposals for services in support of the administrative management systems (AMS) of DOS’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. The performance work statement included the following tasks: program management; operations and maintenance; enhancement; modernization plan; and modernization of four specific systems. Proposals were to be evaluated considering: technical approach; past performance; key personnel; project management plan; and cost/price. Cost/price was to be evaluated for price reasonableness to ensure that proposed prices were consistent with industry standards for similar requirements and were not excessive by comparison to those standards.
ValidaTek argued that the price realism evaluation of Zolon’s proposal was flawed where Zolon’s proposal did not include a sufficient level of effort (LOE) to perform the task order at a realistic price. GAO found that the record indicated that the RFP provided for performance-based solutions instead of specifying a set LOE; Zolon provided detailed explanations in support of its revised pricing and staffing approach; and the agency thoroughly reviewed Zolon’s justifications for its revised proposal, finding that they reflected Zolon’s unique methods of performance and resulted in no more than a medium risk to the government. Therefore, GAO stated that the price realism analysis was sufficiently thorough and met the RFP requirements.