By Government Contracts Editorial Staff
A protest of the terms of a request for proposals was denied because there was no merit to the protester’s contention the RFP placed undue risk on prospective offerors and prevented the government from conducting an adequate price reasonableness analysis. The RFP required the awardee to provide general clerks for 268 Army recruiter facilities. The protester notified the contracting officer that the RFP omitted the anniversary dates of employment for all incumbent employees and that this information was necessary for offerors to determine the amount of vacation time their pricing models should include. The CO responded by providing a technical exhibit with a list of the range of years of employment and the number of full-time employees within each range, along with current wage determinations. The protester contended that, because the government did not provide the employment anniversary dates for every incumbent employee at all locations, offerors could not calculate the vacation budget portion of their proposals exactly. According to the protester, this caused offerors to bear unreasonable price risk and would prevent the government from performing an adequate price reasonableness analysis.
Discretion to Allocate Risk. The Comptroller General disagreed. Although offerors faced some risk without the exact anniversary dates, it is within the government’s discretion to impose risks on contractors and reduce burdens on the government (20 CGEN ¶111,921). In addition, the government made an effort to accommodate offerors and decrease risk by providing the technical exhibit. The government maintained it provided offerors with sufficient pricing information and it would incur significant expense to obtain anniversary date information from the incumbent, and this constituted a reasonable basis to shift the risk of the vacation time budget estimation to offerors. Further, “this risk itself [was] not unreasonable, given that offerors [could] adjust their pricing to address the risk.” Moreover, the government did not indicate that it would rely only on adequate competition to establish price reasonableness. Instead, it expected to employ multiple methods because it prepared an independent government estimate, had access to historical pricing, and expected bids from multiple offerors. The RFP was reasonably crafted to obtain information to utilize these price techniques, and these techniques were sufficient to conduct an adequate price reasonableness analysis. (Assured Performance Systems Inc., 35 CGEN ¶116,749)
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