By Government Contracts Editorial Staff
Proposed corrective action on a task order award for server and software deployment services was unreasonable because it prohibited revisions to aspects of the technical proposals materially impacted by the corrective action. The request for proposals provided that the staffing plan and key personnel subfactor would consider “[t]he extent to which the Offeror’s proposed staffing plan, to include Key Personnel … reflects an understanding of the Government’s requirement and aligns with the Offeror’s technical approach.” In outcome prediction alternative dispute resolution, a Government Accountability Office attorney concluded the RFP required commitment letters to include signatures of key personnel confirming their intention to serve in a stated position, but the awardee’s letters did not reference any positions, and it was not always clear the signing individuals knew the position for which they were being proposed. The government subsequently took corrective action and issued a discussion letter seeking confirmation of the availability of key personnel and requesting updated commitment letters. The protester asked the government to allow revisions to all aspects of the technical and price proposals, but the government responded that offerors could only make changes to key personnel resumes, letters of commitment, and a portion of a single staffing plan template. In challenging the restrictions, the protester noted that its technical proposal highlighted its previously proposed key personnel at length and the corrective action would preclude it from making changes to these aspects of its proposal.
Unreasonably Restrictive. The Comptroller General sustained the protest, finding the corrective action would prevent the protester from conforming many specific references to key personnel and effectively require the protester to submit a materially inconsistent proposal. The government contended it was unfair for the protester to challenge a change in the scope of the corrective action undertaken solely at the protester’s request, and the Comptroller General was sympathetic to this concern. However, once the government elected to allow proposal revisions, it was required to seek these revisions in a reasonable manner. The corrective action could have disallowed substitutions to key personnel, but since the government chose to permit substitutions, it had to allow offerors to conform the portions of their proposals that refer to key personnel whom they were no longer proposing. “To conclude otherwise would, in effect, force offerors to submit facially inconsistent proposals and force the [government] to ignore the solicitation’s requirement that it evaluate how proposed key personnel align with an offeror’s technical approach.” The Comptroller General recommended the government allow offerors to revise aspects of their technical proposals addressing substitutions of key personnel and reevaluate the revisions. (Peraton Inc., 35 CGEN ¶116,913)
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