Exercised Options May Be Protested At GAO–But Agency Discretion Is Broad

Contrary to a common misconception, GAO has jurisdiction to consider a protester’s challenge to the exercise of an option in a competitor’s contract. But GAO’s review is largely deferential to the agency: it will uphold the exercise of an option unless a protester is able to show the agency failed to follow applicable regulations or otherwise should have conducted a new procurement.

A recent bid protest illustrates this deferential review, as GAO denied a protest challenging the exercise of an option where the agency considered pricing and other factors before exercising its option.

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GAO: Offeror’s High Labor Hours Need Not Be Raised In Discussions

An agency was not required to inform an offeror that its proposed base year labor hours were too high, even though the offeror proposed more than twice as many labor hours as the awardee.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that a procuring agency did not act improperly by failing to raise the protester’s high labor hours in discussions, because the protester’s labor hours, while much higher than the awardee’s, were not deemed unacceptably high under the RFQ’s lowest-price, technically acceptable evaluation scheme.

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GAO Considers “Intertwined” Protest of Task Order Valued Below Jurisdictional Threshold

GAO’s bid protest jurisdiction is defined—and limited—by both statute and its regulations. As part of these jurisdictional limits, GAO ordinarily may only consider protests relating to task order procurements if those orders are valued in excess of $10 million.

But despite this rule, GAO recently considered a protester’s challenge to a task order valued at only $8.7 million. It did so after deciding that the challenge was “intertwined” with the protester’s challenge to its own termination for convenience–another matter the GAO only considers in unusual circumstances.

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GAO: Agency Could Disclose Incumbent’s Staffing Numbers

In a solicitation seeking the award of a follow-on services contract, a procuring agency could validly disclose the number of incumbent personnel performing a particular function.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that this information was not proprietary or confidential to the incumbent, and that the incumbent was not competitively harmed by the release of the information.

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GAO Proposes Major Overhaul Of Bid Protest Filing System

The GAO is proposing a major overhaul of its bid protest filing system.

In a Federal Register notice published today, the GAO proposes significant changes regarding how protests are filed (get ready for filing fees), the timeliness of bid protests, and much more.

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Bias And Bid Protests: GAO Rejects Gender Bias Allegation

A woman-owned firm’s introduction of generalized evidence of discrimination against women in the fields of architecture and engineering was insufficient to demonstrate that the Navy discriminated against the woman-owned business with respect to a particular federal opportunity.

A recent GAO bid protest decision highlights how difficult it is to successfully demonstrate bias by government officials–even in a case where statistical evidence suggests that bias may be prevalent in a specific industry.

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GAO: IDIQ Awardee Could Not Protest Selection of Fellow Awardee

The GAO ruled recently that an awardee under a multiple-award IDIQ contract did not have standing the protest the agency’s selection of another awardee.

The decision highlights one of the main tenets of government contracting law: competition is in the government’s interest, and a protest that seeks to reduce competition to the benefit of the protestor could, in a case like this, be thrown out.

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