Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Vinculum Solutions, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Treasury
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Protest that agency improperly assigned weakness to protester’s proposal under key personnel subfactor based on information provided in protester’s final proposal revision transmittal letter is denied where, notwithstanding statement in solicitation that agency would consider résumés under key personnel subfactor evaluation, solicitation did not preclude consideration of other proposal areas for purposes of key personnel subfactor evaluation.
- Protest that agency applied unstated evaluation criterion by assigning proposal weakness based on unavailability of key personnel during option years is denied where agency’s consideration of key personnel availability reasonably relates to comprehensive assessment under key personnel subfactor.
- Protest that awardee misrepresented availability of proposed key personnel is denied where record reflects reasonable basis for awardee to believe that proposed personnel would be available.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Vinculum Solutions, Inc. protested the establishment of a BPA with InfoReliance Corporation for portal infrastructure technical management services. The solicitation was issued to holders of FSS contracts under Schedule 70, Information Technology Equipment, Software, and Services, and contemplated award of a single BPA on a best value basis. In its letter requesting FPRs, the agency informed Vinculum that its proposal had no significant weaknesses or deficiencies but that the firm’s “pricing is considered by the Government to be too high.” In the transmittal letter with its FPR, Vinculum indicated that, to support the reduction in pricing that it now offered, it would initially staff the contract with more senior personnel, and then gradually introduce less senior staff over the life of the contract. Based on this change, the TET assigned a weakness to Vinculum’s proposal with regard to the key personnel and staffing plan subfactors and the program management factor, dropping Vinculum’s ratings from excellent to good. After reviewing the final price and technical evaluation reports, the CO concluded that the proposals overall were essentially equal with regard to non-price factors and made award to InfoReliance based on its lower price.
The GAO first denied Vinculum’s claim that the agency improperly considered Vinculum’s transmittal letter in evaluating key personnel, rather than limiting its consideration to the resumes. The GAO disagreed that the solicitation’s reference to the consideration of resumes precluded the agency from considering other aspects of an offeror’s proposal under the key personnel subfactor evaluation. It similarly denied the claim that the agency applied an unstated evaluation criterion by assigning weaknesses for not maintaining the same key personnel for all five years of the contract. The GAO then rejected Vinculum’s challenges to the evaluation of InfoReliance’s proposal, denying claims that InfoReliance had misrepresented the availability of its proposed key personnel. The GAO noted that the solicitation did not require the submission of letters of commitment or subcontractor agreements, and the agency was under no obligation to probe the availability of InfoReliance’s proposed personnel. Lastly, the GAO declined to consider Vinculum’s allegation that the agency delayed the procurement to give InfoReliance time to recruit the key personnel that Vinculum had proposed, finding that the allegation failed to meet the threshold requirements for consideration.
Unless offerors are required to provide letters of commitment from key personnel, it is possible for offerors to propose the same key personnel. Providing resumes for another offeror’s employees does not constitute misrepresentation to the agency so long as those employees expressed a willingness to consider employment with the awardee. In order for the agency to probe whether a proposal misrepresents information regarding key personnel, an offeror needs to provide significant countervailing evidence, such as an employment agreement or contract with those key personnel.