GAO Task Order Protests: Protester’s Price Does Not Establish Jurisdiction

The GAO’s jurisdiction over task order protests turns on whether the award price of the task order exceeds $10 million–not whether the protester’s proposed price exceeds $10 million.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that it lacked jurisdiction over a task order protest because the award price was under $10 million, even though the protester had proposed a price of approximately $11.4 million.

The GAO’s decision in Goldbelt Glacier Health Services, LLC, B-410378, B-410378.2 (Sept. 25, 2014) involved an Army National Guard task order solicitation for psychological health services.  After evaluating competitive proposals, the agency issued the task order to National Sourcing, Inc. in the amount of $9,620,556.42.

The incumbent contractor, Goldbelt Glacier Health Services, filed a GAO bid protest challenging the award.  Glacier argued that the GAO’s $10 million jurisdictional threshold was met because, but for the agency’s flawed evaluation, Glacier would have been awarded a contract well in excess of the jurisdictional limit.  Glacier’s proposed price was approximately $11.4 million.

The GAO wrote that “where an order has in fact been issued by the government, we view the jurisdictional limit to turn on the value of the disputed order, which is reflected in the terms of the order itself since the order defines the scope and terms of the contractual commitment between the selected contractor and the government.”  The GAO continued, “[a]ccordingly, we do not consider the alleged underlying value of the work apart from the terms of the disputed order, or the value of a theoretical order issued to a different contractor, as advocated by Glacier.”  The GAO dismissed Glacier’s protest.

Whenever an offeror contemplates the protest of a task order award, the offeror must evaluate whether the GAO has jurisdiction to decide the protest.  The Goldbelt Glacier decision helps answer one of the questions that had been outstanding regarding the GAO’s task order jurisdiction.  As the decision illustrates, when the order has been awarded at a price under $10 million, the GAO will not take jurisdiction over a protest–even if the protester’s proposed price exceeded $10 million.

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