National Association of Government Contractors

GSA Must Reimburse Booz Allen for Bid Protest Costs

The General Services Administration (GSA) will be required to reimburse contractor Booz Allen Hamilton for the costs of a recent bid protest due to delays in agency responses, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined.
In a decision from GAO’s general counsel, agency ruled in Booz Allen’s favor in two of three provisions of its complaint against competitor Raytheon over computer resource engineering support for the Army’s Software Engineering Directorate.
The cost-plus, fixed-fee task order for the contract solicited in December 2016 was worth between $582 million and $690 million and was limited to the firms in GSA’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) pool for indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts. “The contracting officer, who was also the source selection authority, selected Raytheon’s proposal for award based on its total assessed value,” which was lower than that of Booz Allen, the ruling noted.
In June 2017, Booze Allen filed what became a series of protests over the ensuing weeks, arguing that Raytheon had a “mitigatable impaired objectivity organizational conflict of interest that should have disqualified it from award,” that GSA “unreasonably evaluated the vendors’ proposals under the oral questions and answers factor” and that GSA “unreasonably evaluated the realism” of Booz Allen’s proposed costs.
Booz charged that GSA had “failed to consider the costs of using different contractors to perform work that Raytheon would be precluded from performing as part of the awardee’s” conflict of interest mitigation plan.
After reviewing precedents, GAO General Counsel Thomas Armstrong wrote that Booz Allen’s request for reimbursement for its multiple-phase bid protest “is granted in part and denied in part.” He said the protest was “was clearly meritorious” with regard to Raytheon’s handling of conflicts of interest as well as the criticism of GSA’s response to the oral questions and answers, concluding that “the corrective action was not prompt.”
But GAO rejected Booz Allen’s argument on the third protest issue concerning cost realism, opting to separate it from the first two using different precedents.

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