Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Protest challenging service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) awardee’s ability to perform more than 50 percent of the contract requirements is denied because, although the solicitation stated that SDVOSB concerns would receive an evaluation preference, the solicitation was not set aside for SDVOSB offerors; thus, the Federal Acquisition Regulation provisions which state that SDVOSB prime contractors must perform more than 50 percent of a contract’s requirements do not apply to this solicitation.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denies the protest of Washington-Harris Group (WHG), in regards to a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the Department of the Army, Army National Guard Bureau (NGB), for case management and administrative services.
First, WHG argues that the agency’s interpretation of the service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) evaluation factor was unreasonable. The RFP stated that the agency would give favorable evaluation consideration to an SDVOSB offeror, and that an offeror’s status was one of the two most important evaluation factors. WHG argues that the awardee should not be eligible to receive credit as an SDVOSB under this procurement because, in the protester’s view, the solicitation and applicable FAR provisions state that SDVOSB contractors must perform more than 50% of the contract requirements in order to receive credit as an SDVOSB. GAO states that the protester presumably refers to FAR part 19.14, which governs awards under the SDVOSB program. The FAR states that when an agency makes an SDVOSB sole-source award, or restricts a competition to SDVOSB offerors, the solicitation must include the clause at FAR sect. 52.219-27, Notice of Total Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside. This clause requires an SDVOSB offeror–in a set-aside or sole-source procurement–to agree to perform, for service contracts, –at least 50% of the cost of personnel for contract performance.
The SDVOSB set-aside clause at FAR sect. 52.219-27 was not included in this solicitation, was not required to be included here, and has no application to this procurement. This RFP expressly states that this procurement was neither an SDVOSB set-aside nor an SDVOSB sole-source award. Therefore, the requirement for an SDVOSB contractor to perform at least 50% of the personnel costs in a service contract does not apply to this procurement.
Next, WHG argues that, even if the Army’s interpretation of the solicitation is reasonable, the awardee should not have received the SDVOSB credit because the awardee should not have been considered the prime contractor under its proposal. GAO states that in reviewing a protest of an agency’s evaluation of proposals, GAO will examine the record to determine whether the agency’s judgment was reasonable and consistent with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement statutes and regulations. A protester’s mere disagreement with the agency’s judgment in its evaluation of offerors’ proposals does not establish that the evaluation was unreasonable.
The stated purpose of the teaming agreement between the awardee and another contractor is to allow the awardee to utilize the other contractor’s GSA schedule contract. To the extent that the teaming agreement states that the awardee will be a subcontractor to the other contractor, GAO finds it is only within the context of the other contractor’s federal supply schedule (FSS) contract. In this regard, the teaming agreement does not mention any specific solicitations or contracts, but instead provides for a general arrangement wherein the awardee may perform work under the other contractor’s schedule contract. Moreover, this approach was sanctioned by the RFP, which stated that a prime contractor could utilize a subcontractor’s FSS contract in performing the contract, provided that –all services provided must be within the scope of the team’s respective schedules.
The protest is denied.