Government Contracts Evaluations and Award Decision Were Unreasonable
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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Evaluations and Award Decision Were Unreasonable

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

A protest of a task order award for information technology support services was sustained because the technical and past performance evaluations and the selection decision were unreasonable. The request for quotations established four evaluation factors—technical approach, personnel qualifications, past performance, and price—and contemplated award using a best-value tradeoff. In response to two prior protests, the government took corrective action but selected the same vendor for award. The final award determination acknowledged that the protester was the incumbent but noted that it was rated lower than the awardee in several areas and had multiple weaknesses. In its third protest, the protester challenged the evaluation of the awardee’s past performance, a weakness it received related to innovations, and the selection decision.

Past Performance. The Comptroller General first agreed with the protester that the past performance evaluation did not meaningfully consider the dollar value of the awardee’s prior contracts in accordance with the RFQ. Under the RFQ, a prior contract had to meet three criteria—type of work, dollar value, and scope—to be relevant. The government established a threshold annual value of $1 million for determining a prior contract was “similar,” but the annual value of the competed task order was $19 million. Further, the annual dollar values of the awardee’s prior contracts were, at most, $3.2 million, $2.5 million, and $2.3 million. The contemporaneous evaluation record provided no support for the government’s conclusion that the value of these prior contracts was similar to the value of the competed task order.

Technical Approach. Also, the government unreasonably assessed a weakness to the awardee’s quotation under the most important evaluation factor, technical approach. In defending the weakness, the contracting officer stated that the protester “attempted to claim credit for [g]overnment projects,” and that its “misrepresentations” were “perfidious in nature.” Although the RFQ advised vendors that the government would consider proposed innovations and assign strengths where appropriate, it did not indicate that a failure to propose innovations would constitute a flaw in the quotation. Finally, the selection decision was unreasonable because it included consideration of a weakness regarding employee retention that had been resolved after the first protest, and the best-value tradeoff was improper because it failed to consider the vendors’ total evaluated prices, as required by the RFQ. The Comptroller General recommended that the government reevaluate and document its review of the competing quotations and make a best-value determination that was reasonable and consistent with the RFQ. (Business Integra Technology Solutions, Inc., 35 CGEN ¶116,880)

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