Document, Document, Document!

Nexant, Inc. (“Nexant”) protested to the GAO the award of a US Agency for International Development (“USAID”) contract to Deloitte Consulting, LLP, on the grounds that USAID (1) failed to conduct meaningful discussions, (2) applied an unreasonable evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposals, and (3) failed to document the basis for its source selection decision. The GAO sustained the protest on all three grounds.   Agencies are not required to conduct discussions with offerors, but if they do, the discussions must be meaningful. Meaningful means that the agency must identify deficiencies and weaknesses in a manner that enables offerors an opportunity to address them. Here, the GAO found that USAID failed adequately to convey its concerns with Nexant’s proposal. For example, in … Continue reading

No Other Qualified Bidder Exists to Preclude Going Sole-Source? “Duh?” Says COFC

From 2004-2009 the United States Air Force contracted with Harris IT Services Corporation for support services for the Air Force’s Command Man-Day Allocation System (“CMAS”). (The GAO said it found the history of this contract “somewhat obscure”.) Under the 2004 contract, the Air Force needed to recompete the contract by March 31, 2010. Starting in 2009, Innovation Development Enterprises of America, Inc. (“IDEA”), a competitor and former subcontractor to Harris, repeatedly asked the Air Force to be notified of the upcoming procurement.   By April 1, 2010, the Air Force had taken no steps to procure a follow-up contract. Two weeks later, on April 15, 2010, the Air Force issued a “bridge” contract to Harris along with an RFP for a sole-source award to Harris. … Continue reading

Should the Kimono be Opened? – Organizational Conflicts of Interest (OCI) Best Practices

FAR Part 9.504 requires contracting officers (CO’s) to identify and evaluate potential OCI’s early in the process, but puts no time pressure (other than the award deadline) on the need to resolve (i.e., avoid, neutralize, or mitigate) significant organizational conflicts.   Following this timeline, CO’s will often require that proposals include relevant OCI-related information, including mitigation plans, and then defer consideration and resolution of an offeror’s potential OCI until (and unless) the offeror’s proposal is found to offer the “best value.” There are understandable reasons for this procrastination.  First, the facts may not be known initially (and may evolve, especially if the statement of work is amended).  Second, a CO’s plate is always full; where will they find the time to address potential OCI’s that won’t … Continue reading