Oasis Wherefore Art Thou
by Barbara Kinosky, Managing Partner
It sounded simple enough in the beginning. SH Synergy LLC and VCH Partners, LLC filed a pre-award protest against the GSA Polaris solicitation because of issues it had with GSA’s limitation on Joint Ventures (JVs) with the same mentor bidding multiple times and how GSA evaluated JV experience. Then the protesters decided to throw in one more count which ended up having a huge ripple effect. The protesters alleged that GSA’s decision to not evaluate price at the IDIQ level under the Polaris solicitation violates federal procurement law at 41 USC §3306(c) which requires agencies to “include cost or price to the Federal Government as an evaluation factor that must be considered in the evaluation of proposals”. GSA did not include pricing as an evaluation factor in the Polaris solicitation, having argued that was factor was best evaluated at the task order level. I agree. However, I was not the judge. And technically the law does state that cost must be an evaluation factor.
The judge agreed with GSA that it could limit a mentor to one joint venture submission on count 1. On count 2 the judge held that the agency was too restrictive in how it allowed mentor-protégé teams to score their past performance. On count 3, the judge held that pricing had to be included. Therein is the ripple effect.
As we all know, pricing is of dubious value at the GSA Schedule level or at the multiple award IDIQ level. That labor hour pricing is just a ceiling and not a floor. It’s when the task orders are competed that the rubber hits the road. And many of those task orders are fixed price.
Not only is Alliant back to a redo, reissuance and reevaluation, but this also impacts OASIS which was supposed to come out any day now. And it will impact the much protested NIH CIO-SP4. Get out your calculators and open up your spreadsheets.