The GAO lacked jurisdiction to consider the protest of a “bridge” task order valued under $10 million, even though the original order related to the bridge exceeded the $10 million threshold.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that it had no legal basis to consider the value of the original order in determining whether it had jurisdiction to decide a protest related to a bridge order.
The GAO’s decision in Serco, Inc., B-410676.2 (Dec. 12, 2014) involved an Army bridge task order for support of the Army OneSource Outreach Program. The bridge extended an ongoing Army task order contract for a period of approximately three months. Although the value of the original task order exceeded $10 million, the amount of the bridge order was $1,072,444.82.
Serco, Inc. filed a GAO bid protest challenging the award of the task order. The Army subsequently requested that the GAO dismiss the protest for lack of jurisdiction. The Army pointed out that, under current law, the GAO lacks jurisdiction to hear protests of task orders valued at less than $10 million, except in circumstances not relevant to this case. In response, Serco argued that the GAO had jurisdiction because the bridge order was “carved out of the original task order,” which was over $10 million.
The GAO held that, under the applicable statutory authority, there was “no basis to consider the value of the original order when determining the value of the bridge task order.” The GAO continued, “[r]ather, for purposes of determining our jurisdiction, the value of the bridge task order on its face is controlling since the terms of the order define the scope and terms of the contractual commitment between the contractor and the government.” The GAO dismissed the protest for lack of jurisdiction.
Agencies often use bridge contracts to extend the performance of an incumbent effort while a protest is resolved or while other issues related to a re-competition are addressed. As the Serco case demonstrates, when a bridge is issued as a task order, it is the value of the bridge itself–not the original task order–that will determine whether the GAO has jurisdiction to hear a bid protest.