Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Agency reasonably cancelled solicitation for work reception and management services where the record establishes lack of funding.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
VetPride complains that the Army cancelled the solicitation after five months of negotiations and contends that the agency acted unreasonably in stringing along all the contractors who were found to be in a competitive range. VetPride disputes that the Army does not have sufficient funds to procure these services. The protester argues that the record establishes that the agency has a continuing need for these services, given the agency’s use of federal employees for work reception and management services. In a negotiated procurement such as this one, the contracting agency has broad discretion in deciding whether to cancel a solicitation and need only have a reasonable basis for doing so. If a reasonable basis exists to cancel a solicitation, an agency may cancel the solicitation regardless of when the information first surfaces or should have been known, even if the solicitation is not cancelled until after proposals have been submitted and evaluated. An agency’s lack of funding for a procurement is a reasonable basis for cancellation, as agencies may not award contracts that exceed available funds.
Here, the record establishes a reasonable basis for the cancellation of the solicitation. In response to GAO’s request, the Army provided the declaration of the Deputy to the Garrison Commander of the Installation Management Command at Fort Polk, who stated that he was responsible for, among other things, management of Garrison staff, and coordination of services at the installation, and resource planning and execution. He stated that, as a result of his office’s review, it was determined that [t]he option to award a separate work reception contract was simply unaffordable and could not be exercised in light of the lack of funding. The deputy also described how the Army could satisfy the reception services by directly absorbing work reception into the available government staffing through a combination of hiring against vacant authorizations and reassigning tasks of existing staff as needed. The protest, therefore, is denied.