When an incumbent contractor’s general manager got sick and had to quit, the contractor promptly found a replacement, which the agency approved. But there was still one problem: the incumbent had already proposed to use the same general manager for the next contract.
According to GAO, the agency was right to eliminate the contractor from the competition, even though the agency knew that the contractor had a new general manager and had, in fact, approved the replacement.
GAO’s outcome prediction alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) can be a tempting option for all parties to a protest, as it provides a preview of sorts for GAO’s written decision. A recent GAO decision, however, underscores that despite its relative informality, outcome prediction ADR can have significant repercussions on future protest developments.
As Koprince Law attorneys have discussed in depth, GAO will in some instances award costs for a clearly meritorious protest where an agency does not take corrective action before the due date for the agency report. But what are the standards for a “clearly meritorious” protest?
It’s instructive to look at a recent GAO decision that reviewed protest grounds dealing with past performance evaluation and a requirement that the Army be able to set up the proposed product within 60 seconds.
GAO’s bid protest regulations provide strict timelines for filing a protest.
Typically, a protest challenging an award must be filed within 10 days after the basis of the protest is known or should have been known. There is an exception to this rule for protests filed after a debriefing, but only when a debriefing was required by the FAR. As one contractor recently discovered, where a debriefing is not required, GAO’s bid protest regulations are not nearly as forgiving.
It’s a basic tenet of government contracting that a contractor must comply with the requirements of an agency solicitation. Those are the rules of the game. But in practice, there can be some tricky calls. For instance, what if a solicitation includes a requirement that appears to conflict with the FAR? Does an offeror still have to comply?
A recent GAO decision explored this situation in the context of a solicitation’s requirement for subcontracting plans.
An incumbent contract wasn’t entitled to receive “extra credit” in the agency’e evaluation of offerors’ transition plans.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the agency reasonably awarded a non-incumbent more strengths than the incumbent in the evaluation of transition plans, writing that incumbency alone doesn’t automatically entitle the incumbent to the highest-possible transition plan score.
How does a company go about challenging overly restrictive terms in a solicitation? In order to make such a challenge (and some of them do succeed), it is necessary to show something more than just the fact that a protestor cannot meet the terms of the solicitation.
A recent GAO decision provides a real-world example of how not to challenge a solicitation as overly restrictive of competition and reinforces that this can be a difficult thing to prove at GAO.