By Government Contracts Editorial Staff
A protest of a task order award for support services was sustained because the government failed to provide sufficient time for the protester to respond to a request for final proposal revisions. After performing an initial evaluation of the three proposals received, the government excluded one proposal from further consideration and conducted “interchanges” with the two remaining offerors. In response to a prior protest, the government decided to take corrective action issuing additional interchange notices and allowing the submission of additional FPRs. The government then issued two interchange notices to the protester regarding its staffing plan and advised it an FPR was due in two days. When the protester filed a second protest, the government extended the response deadline an additional six days.
Not Fair Opportunity. The Comptroller General declined to dismiss the second protest as moot and found the response time did not provide the protester with a fair opportunity to improve its proposal. Under FAR 16.505, the government must provide contract holders with a “fair opportunity” to be considered for task orders, and a “fair opportunity” includes a reasonable response period. Here, the interchange notices advised the protester some its proposed personnel lacked the required experience or presented risk. To respond to the government’s concerns and remain competitive in the procurement, the protester had to successfully recruit and negotiate employment agreements with experienced, highly-skilled personnel, and propose non-contigent hires or make substantial revisions to its transition plan. The allotted response time did not appear to have been calculated to actually allow the protester to submit a proposal responsive to these concerns. The Comptroller General recommended the government provide the protester a reasonable amount of time to respond to the government’s concerns, evaluate the proposals received in response to the interchanges, and make a new source selection decision (MCR Federal, LLC, 34 CGEN ¶116,581)
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