In a best value acquisition, the final decision is typically made by a Source Selection Authority. But what happens when the SSA disagrees with the ratings assigned by the evaluators, such as a Source Selection Evaluation Board?
The SSA has a good deal of discretion, but that discretion isn’t unlimited. In a recent decision, GAO sustained a protest where the SSA’s disagreements with the SSEB didn’t appear to be reasonable.
An agency’s evaluation of proposals was not improper even though the Source Selection Authority “cut and paste” portions of a selection document used in a similar procurement–including typographical errors and a reference to a firm that had not submitted a proposal.
The GAO’s recent decision highlights an uncomfortable truth of government contracting: while the government can (and often does) demand nearly perfect proposals, the government may be able to get by with sloppy or lazy evaluations.