Government Contracts Responsibility for Performance Problems Never Resolved
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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Responsibility for Performance Problems Never Resolved

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

The Comptroller General sustained a protest of a task order award for information technology infrastructure services because the evaluation under the organizational experience factor was inadequately documented and unreasonable. The evaluation factor required vendors to demonstrate appropriate corporate strength, depth, and breadth to achieve the solicitation’s requirements and to provide examples of “successful projects” similar in size and scope. After evaluating the protester’s quotation and a project in which its teaming partner acted as a subcontractor, the technical evaluation committee found “the engineering design proposed and implemented by [the partner] caused major network instability” and the prime contractor had to complete the project. Relying on the TEC report, the source selection authority concluded the teaming arrangement “represent[ed] a significant risk.”

Record Silent. The protester’s chief executive officer provided with the protest a detailed declaration stating the government had longstanding network issues but recommendations to replace firewalls were ignored, the teaming partner only furnished junior level staff at the time of the network instability, and it was another party’s improper installation that created the network issues. However, the government’s response did not address the declaration, and the government produced no documents to support the TEC’s conclusions. The government’s failure to explain why the performance issues were solely attributable to the teaming partner was of particular concern because the awardee proposed the project’s prime contractor as its own teaming partner. The TEC viewed the contract as having performance problems but failed to mention the project, and the record was silent as to whether the prime had a role in these issues. Under the circumstances, this failure rendered the evaluation of the awardee’s quotation unreasonable.

Additional Improprieties. Moreover, the evaluation under the qualifications factor was unreasonable. The TEC found the awardee “provided qualified key personnel” that “met the [statement of work] requirements.” However, one requirement was to provide a team lead with five or more years of hands-on experience, but the resume of the awardee’s proposed lead showed at most three and a half years of experience. Under another requirement, all key personnel had to “have prior hands-on experience supporting environments (i.e., international customer base) similar in size and scope.” The government maintained the awardee met this requirement because it had experience with agencies that support international activities, but the record did not show the TEC evaluated quotations consistent with this interpretation. The Comptroller General recommended the government reevaluate the quotations, document the evaluation, and make a new source selection decision. (Ekagra Software Technologies, Ltd., 33 CGEN ¶116,169).

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