Government Contracts Incumbent Not Entitled to Strength for Day 1 Readiness
Thursday, September 12, 2019

Incumbent Not Entitled to Strength for Day 1 Readiness

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

A challenge to the evaluation of a proposal for information technology and support services lacked merit because the protester failed to establish it was entitled to a strength under the management and staffing plan evaluation factor. The request for task order proposals provided for award on a best-value tradeoff basis considering five evaluation factors. Following the evaluation, the contracting officer, acting as the source selection authority, performed a comparative assessment of the proposals, conducted a tradeoff analysis, and determined the awardee’s higher-rated, higher-priced proposal represented the best value to the government. The protester contended that in assigning an acceptable rating to its proposal under the management and staffing plan factor, the government overlooked several features of the proposal that warranted strengths. According to the protester, it should have received a strength for having its incumbent personnel ready to perform on day 1. The government maintained the protester was not entitled to a strength because its proposal simply satisfied the requirements of the TOPR.

No Extra Credit. In denying the protest, the Comptroller General explained that the TOPR specified that full contract performance would begin after a phase-in period that allowed the contractor to fill key positions and become familiar with the performance requirements, and complete required personnel training and security requirements. Also, the offeror’s proposal would be evaluated to determine if its proposed staffing plan was reasonable to ensure an adequate level of personnel to perform the work. Here, the protester’s disagreement with its rating and belief that its incumbency entitled it to higher ratings or additional strengths lacked merit and did not provide grounds for finding the evaluation was unreasonable. There is no requirement that an incumbent be given extra credit for its status as an incumbent or that the government reserve the highest rating for the incumbent offeror. Further, the government is not required to document all aspects of its evaluation or explain why a proposal did not receive a strength, weakness, or deficiency for a particular feature. The protester also contended the government ignored other strengths in its proposal, such as its use of a new training program, establishment of a “[c]enter of [e]xcellence,” and its “strong management approach that would be tailored for optimizing service output,” but, as with its first argument, the protester did not explain how the evaluation was inconsistent with the stated evaluation criteria. (22nd Century Technologies, Inc., 34 CGEN ¶116,507)

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