Government Contracts Loss of Key Personnel Made Proposal Technically Unacceptable
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Loss of Key Personnel Made Proposal Technically Unacceptable

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

The protester’s proposal for technical support services was properly evaluated as technically unacceptable because the government reasonably determined one of the protester’s proposed key personnel was not available to perform on the contract. Under the request for proposals’ most important evaluation factor, mission support, offerors were required to identify and submit resumes for three proposed key positions, including an “Engineer, Radar Cross Section.” The protester, which was the incumbent, proposed its incumbent engineer, who was a subcontractor employee. However, the government subsequently learned the engineer resigned from his incumbent position and ended his employment with the subcontractor. Based on this deficiency, the source selection authority determined the protester was ineligible for award and concluded the awardee’s $988 million proposal presented the best value to the government. According to the protester, the government had a duty to seek and obtain “hard facts” demonstrating the engineer was unavailable and unwilling to perform on the follow-on contract before excluding the protester’s proposal from consideration for award.

No Firm Commitment. The Comptroller General sustained the protest, finding the evaluation was reasonable and in accordance with the stated evaluation factors. The record showed that, after the close of discussions and the submission of final proposal revisions, the engineer submitted a letter of resignation to the protester’s subcontractor that unequivocally represented the engineer had accepted a new position. Several weeks later, the protester confirmed to the government that the engineer had “checked out” but stated that it had broached the subject of having the engineer come to work directly for the protester. A month later, the protester told the government that it “had not heard back” from the engineer and that it would “continue to search for a radar expert or two for you.” Thus, the government did not rely on “unreasonable supposition or innuendo” when it found the engineer had ceased to be an incumbent employee on the protester’s team and was unavailable to perform on the contract. Nothing in the record showed the engineer provided a firm commitment that he would ultimately perform, so there no basis to question the reasonableness of the government’s conclusion that the protester’s proposal was technically unacceptable due to the subsequent unavailability of its proposed engineer. (PAE Applied Technologies, LLC, 35 CGEN ¶116,999)

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