Board: Contractor On Hook For Incumbent Employees’ Vacation Time

The Service Contract Act requires contractors to pay certain provide no less than certain prevailing wages and fringe benefits (including vacation) to its service employees. The amount of vacation ordinarily is based on an employee’s years of service—and service with a predecessor contractor counts. The FAR’s Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers provision, in turn, requires follow-on contractors to offer a “right of first refusal” to many of those same incumbent employees.

A follow-on contractor is to be given a list of incumbent service personnel, but that information ordinarily isn’t available at the proposal stage. So what happens when a follow-on contractor unknowingly underbids because it isn’t aware how much vacation is owed to incumbent service personnel? The answer, at least in a fixed-price contract, is “too bad for the contractor.”

So it was in SecTek, Inc., CBCA 5036 (May 3, 2017)—there, the Civilian Board of Contract appeals held that a contractor must pay employees retained from the incumbent nearly $170,000 in wage and benefit costs based on its underestimate of those costs in its proposal.

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2017 NDAA Requires Report On Bid Protest Impact At DoD

We’ve been covering many of the important changes to federal contracting promised as a result of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. But among the most consequential might be a provision that requires DoD to compile a report that analyzes the impacts of the current bid protest system on DoD acquistions. This report could ultimately form the basis for potential significant changes to the protest system in future years.

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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: Incumbent Contractor Not Entitled To Highest Past Performance Rating

An incumbent contractor was not entitled to “extra credit” for its status as the incumbent, nor was the incumbent entitled to the highest-possible past performance rating.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that the mere fact that an offeror is the incumbent contractor does not require the procuring agency to assign the offeror a particular past performance score, so long as the agency’s past performance evaluation is reasonable.

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Past Performance: Agency Need Not Seek Updated Information At Source Selection

Once an agency has completed its past performance evaluation it is not required to seek updated past performance information from offerors.

As demonstrated in a recent GAO bid protest decision, an agency may rely on the most recent past performance information available at the time of evaluation, and is not required to seek more recent information at the time of the source selection.

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GAO: Agency Unreasonably Failed To Consider Incumbent Employees’ Salaries

A procuring agency unreasonably assigned an awardee an “Outstanding” score for its proposal to retain a large portion of the incumbent workforce, even though the awardee intended to offer the incumbent employees significantly lower salaries than the employees were earning on the incumbent contract.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that it was unreasonable for the agency to fail to consider whether the differences in compensation would affect the awardee’s ability to recruit and retain the incumbent workforce.

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GAO: Agency Need Not Raise High Costs In Discussions

In discussions, a procuring agency is not required to inform a prospective contractor that its costs are higher than those of its competitors, unless those costs are so high as to be unreasonable.

This important potential limitation on the scope of discussions was at issue in a recent GAO bid protest decision, in which the GAO held that an agency had not erred by failing to inform an offeror that its proposed costs were approximately $3 million higher than the awardee’s.

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