GAO: Misrepresentation on Key Person Availability Sinks Proposal

Agencies rely on the representations made by offerors in their proposals to determine how capable each offeror is. In many cases, key personnel are so vital to an offeror’s chance of success that any change to the key personnel must be approved by the agency prior to such a change taking place. Logic follows that the risk of losing a possible award outweighs any benefit that may be reaped from stretching the truth. Nonetheless, from time to time an offeror will decide to give it a try, hoping that any inaccuracies will be overlooked, or will simply unintentionally misrepresent a detail. But, as one offeror learned, the possibility of such inaccuracies being discovered is high, and the end result is far from ideal.

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Can’t Pad Key Personnel Résumé, Says GAO

GAO recently sustained a protest to the evaluation of an awardee’s management approach based on a material misrepresentation in its proposed key personnel experience (that the protester found on Linkedin, no less). And GAO found the misrepresentation was material because the agency relied upon it, and it significantly impacted the agency’s evaluation. Let’s take a closer look.

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Key Personnel Unavailability Leads to Sustained GAO Protest

Key personnel are an important term in many proposals. Establishing the resume, experience, and availability of personnel that will perform major functions of a contract is a key (dad joke) aspect of a winning proposal. As one offeror found out, when key personnel become unavailable, the technical acceptability of the entire offer can be in jeopardy.

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No Award for Proposal Lacking Required Letter of Commitment, Says GAO

GAO recently sustained a challenge to an agency’s award decision where the awardee failed to provide a required letter of commitment for an individual proposed for a key personnel position. GAO said that the awardee failed to satisfy a material solicitation requirement, making the agency’s award improper.

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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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