B-173218(1), NOV 16, 1971

B-173218(1): Nov 16, 1971

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ALL OFFERORS WERE ADVISED THAT AN AWARD COULD BE MADE ON AN INITIAL PROPOSAL BASIS WITHOUT DISCUSSIONS WITH OTHER OFFERORS WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE WHERE IT WAS CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED FROM THE EXISTENCE OF ADEQUATE COMPETITION (43 RESPONSES TO THE SOLICITATION) THAT A FAIR AND REASONABLE PRICE WOULD RESULT. A REVIEW OF THE RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE THAT PROTESTANT WAS THE MOST QUALIFIED OFFEROR. PROTEST IS DENIED. TO TAX ACCOUNTING & MANAGEMENT SERVICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8. THE PROTEST IS DENIED. THE PROPOSALS SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO THE SOLICITATION WERE FORWARDED TO AN EVALUATION COMMITTEE FOR TECHNICAL EVALUATION AND A DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER THE VARIOUS PROPOSERS' PRICES WERE ACCEPTABLE OR REASONABLE.

B-173218(1), NOV 16, 1971

BID PROTEST - OPPORTUNITY TO NEGOTIATE - QUALIFIED OFFEROR DECISION DENYING PROTEST AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO DECISION SCIENCES CORP. UNDER A PORTION OF A NEGOTIATED SOLICITATION (REGION III) ISSUED BY THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION FOR TECHNICAL AND MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE TO ELIGIBLE FIRMS UNDER SECTION 402 OF THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY ACT OF 1964. FIRST, IN ACCORDANCE WITH FPR 1-3.805-1, ALL OFFERORS WERE ADVISED THAT AN AWARD COULD BE MADE ON AN INITIAL PROPOSAL BASIS WITHOUT DISCUSSIONS WITH OTHER OFFERORS WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE WHERE IT WAS CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED FROM THE EXISTENCE OF ADEQUATE COMPETITION (43 RESPONSES TO THE SOLICITATION) THAT A FAIR AND REASONABLE PRICE WOULD RESULT. SECOND, A REVIEW OF THE RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE THAT PROTESTANT WAS THE MOST QUALIFIED OFFEROR, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED. ACCORDINGLY, PROTEST IS DENIED.

TO TAX ACCOUNTING & MANAGEMENT SERVICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1971, PROTESTING AGAINST AN AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO DECISION SCIENCES CORP. UNDER THE REGION III PORTION OF NEGOTIATED SOLICITATION NO. SBA-406-MA-71-RFP-1, ISSUED BY THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA) ON APRIL 16, 1971.

FOR THE REASONS HEREINAFTER STATED, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.

THE SOLICITATION, ISSUED IN IMPLEMENTATION OF SECTION 406 OF THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY ACT OF 1964, AS AMENDED (42 U.S.C. 2906B), COVERED THE PROCUREMENT OF THE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES OF CONSULTANT FIRMS TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL AND MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE TO INDIVIDUALS AND ENTERPRISES ELIGIBLE FOR ASSISTANCE UNDER SECTION 402 OF THE ACT, WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS LOCATED IN URBAN OR RURAL AREAS OF HIGH PROPORTIONS OF UNEMPLOYMENT OR LOW INCOME INDIVIDUALS. THE PROPOSALS SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO THE SOLICITATION WERE FORWARDED TO AN EVALUATION COMMITTEE FOR TECHNICAL EVALUATION AND A DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER THE VARIOUS PROPOSERS' PRICES WERE ACCEPTABLE OR REASONABLE. THE EVALUATION COMMITTEE SELECTED DECISION SCIENCES CORP. AS SUBMITTING THE PROPOSAL WHICH, IN ITS OPINION, PROMISED THE GREATEST VALUE TO THE GOVERNMENT FROM A TECHNICAL AND PRICE STANDPOINT. BY TELEGRAM DATED JUNE 15, 1971, AWARD WAS MADE TO DECISION SCIENCES CORP. AFTER A DETERMINATION BY THE ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR OF SBA THAT URGENCY REQUIRED THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT NOTWITHSTANDING YOUR PROTEST.

YOU PROTEST ON TWO GROUNDS: (1) NEGOTIATION OPPORTUNITY WAS NOT EXTENDED AND (2) YOUR FIRM IS THE MOST QUALIFIED OFFEROR, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED. WITH RESPECT TO YOUR FIRST ALLEGATION, PARAGRAPH 10(G) OF THE INSTRUCTIONS AND CONDITIONS OF THE SOLICITATION WARNED OFFERORS THAT:

"THE GOVERNMENT MAY AWARD A CONTRACT, BASED ON INITIAL OFFERS RECEIVED, WITHOUT DISCUSSION OF SUCH OFFERS. ACCORDINGLY, EACH INITIAL OFFER SHOULD BE SUBMITTED ON THE MOST FAVORABLE TERMS FROM A PRICE AND TECHNICAL STANDPOINT WHICH THE OFFEROR CAN SUBMIT TO THE GOVERNMENT."

THIS PARAGRAPH STRICTLY COMPORTS WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1 3.805-1 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS (FPR), WHICH PERMIT AN AWARD ON AN INITIAL PROPOSAL BASIS WITHOUT DISCUSSIONS WITH ALL OFFERORS WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE WHERE:

" *** IT CAN BE CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED FROM THE EXISTENCE OF ADEQUATE COMPETITION OR ACCURATE PRIOR COST EXPERIENCE WITH THE PRODUCT OR SERVICE THAT ACCEPTANCE OF THE MOST FAVORABLE INITIAL PROPOSAL WITHOUT DISCUSSION WOULD RESULT IN A FAIR AND REASONABLE PRICE: *** "

UNDER THIS AUTHORITY, SBA CLEARLY MAY MAKE AN AWARD ON AN INITIAL PROPOSAL BASIS. SINCE 43 FIRMS SUBMITTED PROPOSALS IN RESPONSE TO THE REGION III PHASE OF THE SOLICITATION, THERE THEN EXISTED THE ADEQUATE COMPETITION REQUIRED BY FPR SEC. 1-3.805-1. MOREOVER, SBA ADVISES THAT THE PROPOSED PRICES COMPARED FAVORABLY WITH THE ACTUAL COSTS OF THE PRIOR YEAR'S CONTRACT.

OUR REVIEW OF THE RECORD DOES NOT LEAD US TO THE CONCLUSION THAT YOUR FIRM WAS THE MOST QUALIFIED OFFEROR, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED. WE QUOTE, IN SUPPORT OF THIS CONCLUSION, FROM THE SBA REPORT TO OUR OFFICE ON YOUR PROTEST:

" *** USING THE EVALUATION CRITERIA SET OUT ON THE FIRST TWO PAGES OF THE RFP, THE EVALUATION COMMITTEE AWARDED THAT FIRM 55 POINTS OUT OF A POSSIBLE 100. THE FIRM WHICH RECEIVED THE CONTRACT FOR THIS REGION, DECISION SCIENCES CORP., HAD A TOTAL SCORE OF 85 POINTS, IN THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION, THE HIGHEST SCORE OF ANY OFFEROR. ONLY EIGHT OFFERORS HAD LOWER TECHNICAL SCORES THAN GENE BOTEL, INC. (A FEW, HOWEVER, TIED HIM). THE COMPETITIVE PRICE (TOTAL PRICE LESS ESTIMATED COST OF TRAVEL AND PER DIEM) OF GENE BOTEL, INC., WAS HIGHER THAN THAT OF THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR BY NEARLY $28,000. *** " ..END :