By Government Contracts Editorial Staff
A protest of a contract award for security system maintenance, installation, and distribution services was sustained because the awardee knew prior to award that its program manager would not be able to work on the contract yet failed to advise the government of the PM’s unavailability. The request for proposals identified the PM as a key personnel labor category and required the PM to “to possess [a top secret/sensitive compartmented information] clearance with a full scope polygraph at award.” The RFP also required offerors to notify the government for approval of any changes to key personnel. In selecting the awardee’s slightly higher rated $104.5 million proposal over the protester’s $103.2 million proposal, the source selection authority noted the awardee was rated “marginal” in only one subfactor, personnel qualification. The SSA observed that the awardee received a significant weakness for the proposed key personnel resumes, but this was “mitigated by [its] strong quality assurance and configuration management plans.” According to the protester, the awardee’s proposal was technically unacceptable because the awardee was aware that its proposed PM became unavailable prior to award.
Obligation to Inform. The Comptroller General explained that offerors are obligated to advise the government of material changes in proposed staffing, even after submission of proposals. When the government is notified of the withdrawal of a key person, it can either evaluate the proposal as submitted without considering the resume of the unavailable employee (where the proposal will likely be rejected as technically unacceptable for failing to meet a material requirement), or open discussions to permit the offeror to amend its proposal (32 CGEN ¶115,512). Here, the awardee submitted a final proposal revision identifying the specific PM. One month later, the government denied a security clearance for the proposed PM and notified the PM of the decision. As a result of the denial, the awardee had actual knowledge its PM would be unable to obtain the security clearance necessary to work on the contract, and thus would not be available to perform. Therefore, the awardee was required to inform the government of the PM’s unavailability, which it failed to do. The Comptroller General recommended the government evaluate the awardee’s proposal as submitted, without considering the previously proposed PM, or open discussions with all offerors and allow for submission of revised proposals. (M.C. Dean, Inc., 35 CGEN ¶116,860)
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