Offeror With “Relatively Weak Proposal” Can File Size Protest, Says SBA OHA

An offeror with a “relatively weak proposal” can nonetheless file a size protest challenging the small business eligibility of the prospective awardee, provided that the protester was not found technically unacceptable or otherwise incapable of being selected for award.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that the mere fact that the protester was evaluated as “less than satisfactory” on four out of five non-price factors did not justify dismissing the protester’s size protest for lack of standing.

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GAO: Key Employee’s Resignation Justified Exclusion From Award

It’s the day after you submitted an offer for a big government contract, when one of your key personnel walks into your office. “Thanks for everything you’ve done for me,” she says, “but I’ve decided to take an opportunity elsewhere.”

Employee turnover is a part of doing business. But for prospective government contractors, it can be a nightmare. As highlighted in a recent GAO bid protest, a offeror was excluded from the award simply because one of its proposed key personnel resigned after the proposal was submitted.

It’s a harsh result, but it highlights that contractors must not only attract key personnel—they must also retain them.

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GAO: Solicitation Terms Trump Standard Industry Practice

An offeror’s proposal must conform to all technical requirements of an agency’s solicitation–even if the offeror believes those requirements to differ from standard industry practice.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that an agency appropriately rated an offeror’s proposal as technically unacceptable because the offeror failed to conform to certain material solicitation requirements; the offeror’s insistence that those requirements varied from standard industry practice was irrelevant.

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Agency’s Discussions Only With Awardee Were Improper, Says GAO

When a procurement agency opens discussions with one offeror, it must open discussions with all offerors within the competitive range.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that a procuring agency conducted improper discussions when it limited discussions to only one offeror.

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Small Business’s “Hardship” Payment Request Leads To Rejected Proposal

A small business’s so-called “hardship request” to vary a solicitation’s payment scheme caused the procuring agency to reject its proposal.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO upheld the agency’s decision, holding that the small business’s proposal was, at best, ambiguous about whether the small business would comply with the solicitation.

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Court: Past Performance Evaluations of Technically Unacceptable Offerors Not Required

A procuring agency was not required to consider the past performance of an offeror judged to be technically unacceptable, according to a recent bid protest decision of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In The Alamo Travel Group, LP v. The United States, No. 12-764C (2012), the Court rejected an incumbent contractor’s argument that an agency could not properly exclude the incumbent’s proposal without first considering its past performance–which, the incumbent argued, would demonstrate its ability to successfully perform the contract.

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GAO: Low Price Not Evidence of Technical Unacceptability

An awardee’s low price, by itself, is not evidence that the awardee cannot meet the solicitation’s technical requirements, according to a recent GAO bid protest decision.

In Midwest Tube Fabricators, Inc., B-407166, B-407167 (Nov. 20, 2012), the protester argued that the awardee could not meet the solicitation’s requirements at the awarded price.  The GAO dismissed the protest, holding that the protester’s allegation did not present a valid basis of protest.

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