By Government Contracts Editorial Staff
A protest of the award of a blanket purchase agreement for operations support services was sustained because the evaluation under the staffing approach factor was unequal. The request for quotations’ staffing approach factor provided that the government would examine whether vendors demonstrated competitive methods of personnel retention. Under one criterion, the government would evaluate vendors’ techniques and abilities for retaining qualified and cleared personnel. The protester received an overall staffing approach rating of acceptable, but it was assessed a weakness because the evaluators found the protester did not provide any retention techniques focused on cleared personnel. The protester maintained this weakness was unreasonable.
Assessed Weakness Reasonable. The Comptroller General reviewed the protester’s quotation and found that it did not address any specific retention techniques focused on cleared personnel. The quotation planned to use general, company-wide retention strategies to retain cleared personnel. Although these retention strategies were located in a section of the quotation titled “Retention of Qualified and Cleared Personnel,” they did not appear to be designed specifically for retaining cleared personnel. Further, the quotation did not articulate that the retention techniques were designed solely to retain cleared personnel or had some other benefit particular to cleared personnel.
Awardee’s Approach Similar. However, the awardee also proposed to use company-wide benefits as its retention techniques for cleared personnel, but it did not receive a weakness in this area. The protester proposed to use a competitive compensation plan with flexible benefits, corporate retention initiatives, employee satisfaction surveys, and a continuing education program as retention techniques for cleared personnel. In nearly identical fashion, the awardee proposed to use a competitive salary structure, spot bonuses, continuing education opportunities, training and development programs, and a team-friendly environment to retain cleared personnel. Although the awardee included two specific retention programs that may prove successful in retaining cleared personnel, neither program was specifically focused on retaining cleared personnel. “Thus, given that neither vendor proposed a retention technique specifically focused on cleared personnel, we fail to see how the information in [the protester’s] quotation supports a weakness while the information contained in [the awardee’s] quotation does not.” The Comptroller General recommended the government reevaluate the quotations under the staffing approach factor. (ManTech Advanced Systems Int’l, Inc., 33 CGEN ¶116,201).
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