It is decently well established that GAO will recommend protesters be reimbursed for protest related costs when an agency unduly delays in taking prompt corrective action. In a recent GAO decision, however, the Navy argued the question of undue delay should be evaluated from the time the Navy fully understood the extent of its error, not the initiation of the protest.
GAO was not convinced.
One GAO protester is starting to feel like Bill Murray’s character from Groundhog Day, and not in a good way. In a recent series of protests, a contractor challenged the terms of various solicitations as unduly restrictive of competition. These protests resulted in successive corrective actions.
Growing weary of continually protesting the same issue without tangible resolution, the protester finally requested GAO recommended it be reimbursed for its costs. Unfortunately for the protester, GAO had less sympathy for its situation.
Contractor responsibility is to be considered before every federal contract award, but what about task orders issued under an FSS contract? Are contractors still subject to responsibility inquiries when competing for orders?
According to GAO, the answer is, “yes.”
In a recent decision, GAO determined an agency could reasonably amend a solicitation for a task order issued under a set-side base contract to require offerors to recertify their size and SDVOSB status at the task order level.
As we have previously noted on the blog, a substantial number of protests filed before GAO end in voluntary corrective action taken by the protested agency. In recent decision, GAO addressed just how much discretion agencies have in designing corrective actions.
Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.
Shuttering of the government (or parts of the government) following appropriations lapses has become an increasingly common phenomenon in recent years. Funding lapses interrupt the usual predictability of government operations, which is often to the detriment of both agencies and federal contractors that are left in proverbial limbo with stop work orders.
Unfortunately, unlike many other topics, the FAR does not substantively address procedures for contractors during or following a government shutdown. As such, recovering expenses incurred as a consequence of government shutdowns can be challenging.
Here are some pointers.
Earlier this year, GAO unveiled its new Electronic Protest Docketing System (“EPDS”) for bid protests. EPDS serves as the central filing system for all bid protests pursued before GAO. As a courtesy, EPDS will automatically generate a courtesy email notice anytime a new document is filed with GAO.
In a recent Request for Reconsideration, however, GAO was asked to reconsider its dismissal of a protest after the protester failed to receive the automatically-generated EPDS notice that the Agency Report had been filed. GAO held that the protester in question couldn’t rely on its failure to receive the email to avoid the ordinary timeliness rules applicable to GAO bid protests.