Government Contracts Weakness/Risk for Top-Heavy Staffing Plan Reasonable
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Friday, September 27, 2019

Weakness/Risk for Top-Heavy Staffing Plan Reasonable

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

A protest of a blanket purchase agreement and initial task order award for acquisition management support services was denied, in part because the protester failed to establish the evaluation of the parties’ proposed staffing was unreasonable. The request for quotations directed vendors “to include resource information (such as proposed labor categories/labor mix and number of hours per labor category),” which would be used “to assess the [vendor’s] understanding of the objectives and the ability to complete the job with sufficient resources.” The RFQ also stated that the government would assess the vendor’s understanding of the requirements, its demonstrated innovation, and the “effectiveness and efficiency” of the proposed solution. The government assigned the protester a weakness/risk for its proposed staffing and a rating of “good” under the corresponding evaluation factor because the protester’s proposed labor categories were “limited to [t]op [l]evel [s]enior [p]ositions” and did “not reflect a range of labor categories with varying degrees of experience” or “efficient staffing.” Contending it should have received an “excellent” rating under this factor, the protester maintained the RFQ did not advise that the government sought personnel with varying degrees of experience. According to the protester, “[t]here is no risk associated with a well-qualified workforce.”

Consistent with RFQ. However, there was no basis to question the reasonableness of the assessed weakness/risk or the government’s compliance with the terms of the RFQ, which expressly advised that the government would evaluate the efficiency of each proposed solution. The government was reasonably concerned that the protester’s staffing plan created a significant potential for “wasted effort or expense,” and the evaluation properly reflected that concern. Accordingly, the government reasonably assigned a rating of good, but not excellent, to the protester’s quotation under the related evaluation factor. The protester also challenged the government’s finding that, although the awardee’s proposed staffing levels were lower than the level reflected in the independent government cost estimate, the awardee’s approach did not create risk. However, the government identified specific innovations/efficiencies in the awardee’s quotation as beneficial and the particular objectives that the innovations/efficiencies would impact beneficially. The protester may have disputed the government’s judgments, but it failed to establish these judgments were unreasonable or that the government’s documentation was inadequate. (Jefferson Consulting Group, LLC, 34 CGEN ¶116,519)

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