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.
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.
Time. It’s a great Pink Floyd song. It’s also something that frequently trips up contractors filing protests before GAO. As one contractor recently discovered, a challenge to the salient characteristics of a brand name product is equivalent to challenging the terms of a solicitation, which carries a different protest deadline than evaluation challenges.
Unfortunately for the protester, its argument did not fair nearly as well as one of David Gilmour’s solos.
You can access the internet from your couch, the skies above, and even from space. This means that you can also access your emails from each of these locations. I am sure that some of you have received emails from GAO, an agency, or a contracting officer on your phone in the last month. You may even be reading this blog while on the go. In our ever-connected world, is it possible to establish “regular business hours” and truly disconnect when it comes to emails?