By Government Contracts Editorial Staff
A protest of a contract award for vessel acquisition manager services was sustained because the realism analysis of the awardee’s proposed price was unreasonable. The RFP sought a vessel acquisition manager with experience procuring, reflagging, reclassifying, modifying, and maintaining and operating vessels. Under contract line item 0009, the offeror was to “[p]rovide for the operation, maintenance and repair of the vessel(s) in Full Operating Status” and “crew the vessels while in FOS” in accordance with an attachment. The source selection evaluation board noted the awardee’s price was 34 percent lower, and the protester’s price was 10 percent lower, than the average of all offerors’ prices. It also concluded both offerors’ prices were realistic, and fair and reasonable. The protester asserted the government did not perform a proper price realism analysis of the awardee’s proposed price. According to the protester, the difference in total evaluated price—$21 million—largely resulted from the awardee proposing an “unrealistic” and “deficient” number of crew under CLIN 0009, and the government “either ignored or missed th[e] pricing gimmicks and the inherent performance risks inherent in [the awardee’s] approach.”
Material Error. In the Comptroller General’s view, the analysis was flawed by the lack of any explicit finding in the cost/price evaluation realism team report that the awardee’s proposed crew was realistic to perform the work. The report concluded that the “offeror provided realistic rates, categories, and hours,” but it did not connect these rates, categories, or hours with a finding that the awardee proposed a sufficient crew. To the extent the government contended this finding was implied, the analysis was flawed because it was based on an inaccurate description of the awardee’s proposed crew. The awardee proposed the lowest price of the six offerors and the lowest price for CLIN 0009, but in analyzing these prices, the government made a material error of fact about the number of crew members proposed by the awardee. The Comptroller General also found the RFP contained a latent ambiguity about the crew requirements and that the technical and past performance evaluations were unreasonable. The Comptroller General recommended the government revise the RFP and request and evaluate revised proposals. (Pasha Hawaii Holdings LLC, 35 CGEN ¶117,037)
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