By Government Contracts Editorial Staff
A protest of a contract award for administrative and clerical support services was sustained because the evaluation under the recruitment/retention factor failed to consider unresolved information regarding the awardee’s retention rates under the incumbent contract. The request for proposals stated the R/R evaluation factor would assess “the [o]fferor’s personnel management policies and practices designed to motivate employee performance and encourage longevity with the firm, including its retention metrics of [Service Contract Act] personnel ….” In its first final proposal revision, the awardee represented that its turnover rate for the incumbent contract was 32 percent, and the evaluators assessed the awardee a significant weakness for this aspect of its proposal. After discussions, the protester submitted a revised FPR that removed the 32-percent turnover rate and substituted the average turnover rate for three SCA-covered contracts, which was lower. The evaluators then removed the significant weakness and raised the awardee’s rating under the R/R factor from “marginal” to “outstanding.” The government maintained the evaluation was reasonable because the new turnover rate was more in line with industry averages.
Revised FPR Obscured Metric. According to the Comptroller General, “it was unreasonable for the evaluators to consider this significant weakness to be resolved simply because [the awardee] chose to obscure the negative retention metric—which did not change—from its earlier proposal.” The evaluators were aware of the awardee’s turnover rate on the incumbent contract—the same individuals reviewed both the first and revised FPRs—and it was clear the government considered this information to be relevant to the evaluation. It appeared the awardee removed the 32-percent turnover rate because it was prejudicial, not because it was erroneous, and the rate was historical data that could not have changed in the time between the first and revised FPRs. The record “reflect[ed] a single reason for the conclusion that [the awardee’s] turnover rate on the incumbent contract was no longer a significant weakness—because [the awardee] ‘removed all verbiage’ of its turnover rate on the incumbent contract from its final proposal.” Although the government might have reasonably concluded that other features of the proposal served to ameliorate concerns about the turnover rate on the incumbent contract, the record did not contain any such conclusion. The Comptroller General recommended the government reevaluate the awardee’s R/R proposal and reasonably address whether the revised proposal ameliorated the significant weakness regarding the awardee’s retention rate. (Qi Tech, LLC, 35 CGEN ¶116,634)
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