GAO: Procuring Agency Needn’t Disclose Inter-Agency Consultation

As many contractors and attorneys can attest, federal acquisitions sometimes seek items that are federally regulated, which can result in some complex compliance issues. A classic example of this interaction is the procurement of aircraft. Not only must bidders comply with the requirements of the solicitation, they must also satisfy the FAA’s airworthiness regulations.

So what happens when the FAA’s regulations and the solicitation requirements appear to be at odds? That was the question presented to GAO in Timberline Helicopters, Inc., B-414507,  (June 27, 2017), where inter-agency communications between the procuring agency and the FAA resolved the issue. And according to GAO, the procuring agency wasn’t required to disclose those communications to prospective offerors.

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Proposal Ambiguity Torpedoes Contractor’s Bid

Sometimes, unintentional ambiguities can lead to a few laughs.  One website, for instance, reports funny ambiguous newspaper headlines, such as “Kids Make Nutritious Snacks” and “Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant.”

When it comes to bids and proposals, however, ambiguities are no laughing matter.  As one contractor discovered in a recent GAO bid protest decision, a procuring agency may reject a contractor’s bid if it contains an ambiguity regarding a material solicitation requirement.

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