B-171580, JUN 21, 1971

B-171580: Jun 21, 1971

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THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S STATEMENT THAT THE SERVICES REQUIRED ARE NOT SIMPLE COMPUTER PROGRAMMING SERVICES CONTRADICTS PROTESTANT'S CLAIM THAT "LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF COMPANIES COULD PERFORM THIS CONTRACT WITH LITTLE ... THE CONTRACTING OFFICER PROPERLY CONSIDERED FACTORS OTHER THAN PRICE IN MAKING THE AWARD OF A NEGOTIATED CONTRACT TO AN OFFEROR WHO WAS NOT LOW. INCORPORATED: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF DECEMBER 21. OFFERORS WERE ADVISED OF THE METHOD OF AWARD AND EVALUATION PROCEDURES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS: "B. PROPOSALS WILL BE EVALUATED BY A SOURCE SELECTION BOARD OF EXPERT PERSONNEL. FAILURE OF YOUR PROPOSAL TO BE ACCEPTED FOR AWARD WILL NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT ANY DEFICIENCIES.

B-171580, JUN 21, 1971

BID PROTEST - NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT - MOST ADVANTAGEOUS OFFER DENYING PROTEST OF SYSTEMS DESIGN, INC., AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO SIGMATICS, UNDER AN RFP ISSUED BY THE GSA, FEDERAL SUPPLY SERVICE, DENVER, COLORADO, FOR PROGRAMMING SUPPORT FOR AN AUTOMATED FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR THE FIELD COMMAND, DEFENSE ATOMIC SUPPLY AGENCY SANDIA BASE, NEW MEXICO. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S STATEMENT THAT THE SERVICES REQUIRED ARE NOT SIMPLE COMPUTER PROGRAMMING SERVICES CONTRADICTS PROTESTANT'S CLAIM THAT "LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF COMPANIES COULD PERFORM THIS CONTRACT WITH LITTLE ... VARIATION IN PRODUCT QUALITY." THEREFORE, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER PROPERLY CONSIDERED FACTORS OTHER THAN PRICE IN MAKING THE AWARD OF A NEGOTIATED CONTRACT TO AN OFFEROR WHO WAS NOT LOW.

TO SYSTEMS DESIGN, INCORPORATED:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF DECEMBER 21, AND YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 30, 1970, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS NO. GS-08-1236, ISSUED OCTOBER 14, 1970, BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, FEDERAL SUPPLY SERVICE, PROCUREMENT DIVISION, DENVER, COLORADO.

THE SOLICITATION REQUESTED PRICES FOR FURNISHING PROGRAMMING SUPPORT FOR AN AUTOMATED FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR THE FIELD COMMAND, DEFENSE ATOMIC SUPPLY AGENCY (DASA), SANDIA BASE, NEW MEXICO. THE SOLICITATION REQUIRED THE PROGRAMS TO BE WRITTEN IN SYSTEMS 360/OS COBOL AND THE SPECIFICATIONS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THAT PERSONNEL FULLY QUALIFIED IN SYSTEMS 360/OS COBOL MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR ASSIGNMENT TO THE CONTRACT IMMEDIATELY UPON AWARD.

ON PAGE 11 OF THE SOLICITATION, OFFERORS WERE ADVISED OF THE METHOD OF AWARD AND EVALUATION PROCEDURES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"B. PROPOSALS WILL BE EVALUATED BY A SOURCE SELECTION BOARD OF EXPERT PERSONNEL, BASED UPON THE PROPOSAL FACTORS SET FORTH HEREIN AND ANY OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED PERTINENT BY THE BOARD. FAILURE OF YOUR PROPOSAL TO BE ACCEPTED FOR AWARD WILL NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT ANY DEFICIENCIES, BUT ONLY THAT ANOTHER PROPOSAL WAS CONSIDERED TO BE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

"C. EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS WILL BE BASED ON A MAXIMUM WEIGHTING ASSIGNED TO EACH OF THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

POINT

WEIGHTING

"(1) QUALIFICATIONS OF PERSONNEL TO BE ASSIGNED IN SYSTEM

360/OS COBOL PROGRAMING 25

"(2) AVAILABILITY OF PERSONNEL 10

"(3) EVIDENCE OF PROPOSER'S QUALIFICATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT AND

SUPERVISION 10

"(4) COMPANY EXPERIENCE IN SYSTEMS 360/OS COBOL PROGRAMMING 20

"(5) EVIDENCE OF PROPOSER'S COMPETENCE IN

DOCUMENTATION/PROCEDURES 10

"(6) REASONABLENESS OF PRICE IN RELATION TO OTHER ASPECTS OF

PROPOSAL 25

"A MAXIMUM OF 100 POINTS IS POSSIBLE FOR A PROPOSAL."

PROPOSALS RECEIVED FROM 21 COMPANIES WERE EVALUATED BY A DASA SOURCE SELECTION BOARD IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING FACTORS AND WEIGHTS. SIGMATICS, WITH AN EVALUATED POINT SCORE OF 90, AND A PRICE OF $219,380, WAS RECOMMENDED BY DASA AS THE OFFEROR MEETING REQUIREMENTS AND WHOSE OFFER WAS MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, ALL FACTORS CONSIDERED. YOUR OFFER PRICED AT $140,844, RECEIVED AN EVALUATED POINT SCORE OF 67 POINTS. AWARD WAS MADE TO SIGMATICS ON DECEMBER 18, 1970.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISION OF THE SOLICITATION ENTITLED, "QUALIFICATION OF PERSONNEL ASSIGNED" AND "CONTRACTOR'S EXPERIENCE RESUME," OFFERORS WERE REQUIRED TO SUBMIT THE NAMES AND RESUMES OF EXPERIENCE OF THE PERSONNEL THEY PLANNED TO USE. HOWEVER, YOU LISTED THE NAMES OF AND FURNISHED RESUMES ON ONLY SIX OF THE ELEVEN PROGRAMMERS YOU PROPOSED TO USE, AND OF THESE SIX IT COULD NOT BE CLEARLY DETERMINED THAT FOUR HAD EXPERIENCE IN 360/OS COBOL, A SPECIFIC REQUIREMENT SET FORTH UNDER "QUALIFICATIONS OF PERSONNEL ASSIGNED." IN ADDITION, IT IS REPORTED THAT YOUR COMPANY'S EXPERIENCE IN 360/OS COBOL WAS LIMITED AND WHILE YOU SPECIFICALLY REFERRED TO A DATA MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (ADMS-70) DEVELOPED FOR IBM 360 AND RCA SPECTRA 70 AS QUALIFYING EXPERIENCE, THIS SYSTEM WAS DEVELOPED IN ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE (ALC) WHICH WAS NOT CONSIDERED BY DASA AS QUALIFYING EXPERIENCE.

YOU CONTEND THAT YOU ARE FULLY QUALIFIED TO PERFORM AND THAT YOUR PRICE WAS APPROXIMATELY 55 PERCENT LOWER THAN THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR'S. IN SUPPORT OF YOUR POSITION YOU STATE THAT "LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF COMPANIES COULD PERFORM THIS CONTRACT WITH LITTLE, IF ANY, VARIATION IN PRODUCT QUALITY."

IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY REPORTED THAT THE SERVICES REQUIRED ARE NOT SIMPLE COMPUTER PROGRAMMING SERVICES. DASA STATES THAT IT DOES NOT CONSIDER TRAINEES CAPABLE OF PERFORMING THE WORK REQUIRED, AND THAT ITS EXPERIENCE IN TRAINING OF PROGRAMMERS FOR THE 360/OS COBOL HAS BEEN THAT IT TAKES FROM THREE TO SIX MONTHS TO BECOME PROFICIENT IN THE USE OF THE LANGUAGE.

THE SELECTION OF THE CONTRACTOR BEST QUALIFIED FOR AWARD IN A NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT IS TO BE MADE BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE CONCERNED IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS SOUND JUDGMENT AS TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. B-149344, DECEMBER 26, 1962. UNDER FORMALLY ADVERTISED PROCUREMENTS AWARD MAY BE MADE ONLY TO THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDDER; HOWEVER, THIS RULE IS NOT NECESSARILY APPLIED TO NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENTS. IN THE LATTER SITUATION, THE CONTRACTING AGENCY IN ITS DISCRETION MAY RELY UPON FACTORS OTHER THAN PRICE. SEE B 155983, MARCH 31, 1965. OUR OFFICE HAS SPECIFICALLY UPHELD THE AWARD OF A NEGOTIATED CONTRACT ON THE BASIS OF FACTORS OTHER THAN PRICE. B 159032, AUGUST 1, 1966.

YOU ALSO POINTED OUT THAT YOU INTENDED TO HAVE THE WORK DONE BY YOUR WESTERN SYSTEMS DIVISION, EL SEGUNDO, CALIFORNIA, WHICH IS LOCATED IN A DISTRESSED LABOR AREA. WE ARE ADVISED THAT SIGMATICS WILL PERFORM THE WORK IN A DISTRESSED LABOR AREA.

SINCE THIS PROCUREMENT WAS MADE UNDER NEGOTIATED PROCEDURES PERMITTING PROCUREMENT PERSONNEL A BROAD RANGE OF DISCRETION AND SINCE THERE IS NO INDICATION OF ANY ABUSE OF THAT DISCRETION, WE SEE NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE AWARD MADE. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.

SO FAR AS CONCERNS YOUR CONTENTION THAT YOU WERE DENIED DETAILS OF THE AWARD, THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT SHOWS THAT MR. EARL BLAND OF SYSTEMS CONTACTED MR. J. J. MCGOVERN, CHIEF OF THE PROCUREMENT DIVISION, GSA REGION 8, REQUESTING INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSALS. MR. MCGOVERN GAVE HIM THE NAME OF THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR AND THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE AWARD BUT NOT THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR'S POINT RATING. AFTER DISCUSSION WITH A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REGIONAL COUNSEL'S OFFICE, HOWEVER, IT WAS AGREED THAT MR. BLAND SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN THIS INFORMATION. MR. MCGOVERN THEN ENDEAVORED TO REACH MR. BLAND AT HIS OFFICE, BUT IT HAD EVIDENTLY CLOSED FOR THE DAY. AFTER CONSIDERABLE EFFORT, MR. MCGOVERN LEARNED MR. BLAND'S HOME TELEPHONE NUMBER AND GAVE TO MRS. BLAND THE POINT RATINGS OF SYSTEMS AND SIGMATICS.