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Award Overturned Due to Evaluation and Selection Errors

A contract award for overseas security services was permanently enjoined by the Court of Federal Claims because the technical and past performance evaluations were arbitrary and capricious. The solicitation's technical evaluation factor consisted of two subfactors: management plan and transition plan. The evaluation for the management plan subfactor was to be based on resumes and other employment-related documents provided by the offerors, while the focus of the transition plan subfactor evaluation was proposed transition milestones and evidence of a "well-thought out plan ready to be implemented upon contract award." The awardee received a rating of "excellent" under both subfactors, while the protester received ratings of "marginal."

Technical Evaluation Irrational

For the personnel component of the management plan subfactor, the evaluators concluded the awardee's resumes "showed significant experience necessary per the requirements of this RFP" and all the proposed individuals "met the significant experience as it related to the position qualifications." However, four of the resumes did not demonstrate compliance with the minimum education and experience requirements. Therefore, the conclusion the resumes met minimum requirements and the assignment of a strength were erroneous. Further, the protester presented resumes showing the requisite experience, and the failure to assign it a strength for personnel constituted either disparate treatment or an irrational evaluation. The transition plan subfactor ratings were also flawed. The evaluators assigned the protester weaknesses based on a contradiction in its first-year staffing plan and its failure to have retention letters for all of the incumbent's employees. These weaknesses were irrational because the contradiction was not explained in the record and the solicitation did not specifically require offerors to provide retention letters. When the weaknesses were removed, the protester would likely have merited a higher rating.

Factual Errors

The court also found the awardee and the protester were treated very differently as to the past performance of their subcontractors. The government faulted the protester for not showing it could "perform without a subcontractor," but it assigned the awardee a strength for its subcontractor's past performance, and excellent past performance on dissimilar contracts was viewed positively for the awardee's subcontractor and negatively for the protester's subcontractor. Due to factual errors, the awardee's past performance rating of "excellent" was irrational and unsupported. The evaluators concluded the awardee provided five references where it served as the prime contractor and all five references rated the awardee as excellent. However, only three of the references were for contracts where the awardee performed as the prime, and one of the references did not provide a past performance questionnaire. Also, a strength assigned to the awardee's past performance was based on a reference for the awardee's subcontractor, not for the awardee. These evaluation errors and the government's failure to follow the evaluation scheme rendered the best value award invalid. ( BayFirst Solutions, LLC v. U.S., et al., FedCl, 56 CCF 79,724)




(The news featured above is a selection from the news covered in the Government Contracts Report Letter, which is published weekly and distributed to subscribers of the Government Contracts Reporter. )


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