Here in Kansas, it is certainly starting to feel like thunderstorm season–and one of my favorite seasons, I might add. But over in D.C., some may say it is starting to feel like protest season! That said, anyone familiar with the protest process at D.C.’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) is probably also quite familiar with the strict timeliness rules GAO applies to such protests. And frankly, even for the seasoned GAO protesters, a refresher on the timeliness rules can be quite beneficial–especially given the answer to when a certain type of protest is due is not always an easy calculation. So, let’s take it back to the basics and run through some of those rules here.Continue reading
A recent GAO decision provides a costly lesson about the importance of having internal procedures to receive and respond to official e-mail communications when a company team member is unavailable. The stakes can be big–GAO recently dismissed a contractor’s protest challenging the Department of State’s decision to cancel a solicitation. The question in this matter revolved around when a party is deemed to have received constructive notice of an agency’s cancellation of a solicitation.Continue reading
Equitus Corporation was sure it was following the right procedures when it requested a debriefing after receiving a letter stating its proposal under an Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) solicitation had been rejected. The Air Force even provided the debriefing as requested, and Equitus filed a protest less than 10 days later. However, they made an easy-to-miss but crucial error that resulted in dismissal of their protest.Continue reading
An offeror’s bid was rejected because the offeror wasn’t a small business–even though the solicitation didn’t contain a NAICS code or corresponding size standard.
It sounds like a successful bid protest waiting to happen, but GAO didn’t see it that way. Instead, GAO dismissed the protest because the offeror should have protested the defective solicitation terms before it submitted its bid, instead of waiting to see how the competition played out.Continue reading
When a federal solicitation is vague, ambiguous or internally contradictory, it is common for offerors to hold their tongues. Instead of challenging the solicitation’s defects before proposals are due, many offerors decide to submit proposals and “see how it plays out.” Later, if the award goes to a competitor, these offerors may try to protest the solicitation’s defects.
It’s unsurprising that offerors can be reticent to rock the boat before an award is made. But a recent GAO bid protest decision demonstrates, complaining about the ground rules after award rarely works.Continue reading
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: when it comes to submitting your GAO protest, meeting GAO’s strict timeliness requirements is a must. So is watching out for notices on contract awards posted online. In Prudential Protective Services, LLC, B-418869 (Aug. 13, 2020), the protest was dismissed as untimely because it was filed more than 10 days after notice of the award was posted to beta.SAM.gov.Continue reading