B-173540(2), MAR 20, 1972

B-173540(2): Mar 20, 1972

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COST IS NOT CONSIDERED AS CONTROLLING. IT APPEARS THAT THE AWARD TO QUINTRON WAS BASED ON THE SUPERIORITY OF ITS PROPOSED MANNING AS WELL AS THE OPINION OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE FEC PROPOSAL LACKED COST REALISM. IS UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE EVALUATION CRITERIA EMPLOYED BY THE AIR FORCE WAS UNREASONABLE. ALL QUOTATIONS WERE ELIMINATED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THOSE RECEIVED FROM FEDERAL ELECTRIC CORPORATION (FEC) AND QUINTRON SYSTEMS. THAT AWARD WAS MADE ON OCTOBER 15. FEC CONTENDS THAT IT IS THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE. THAT ITS PROPOSAL MUST HAVE BEEN TECHNICALLY EXCELLENT SINCE ITS NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE AIR FORCE DEALT ONLY WITH COST MATTERS. AWARD TO ANOTHER FIRM MUST HAVE BEEN BASED ON COST CONSIDERATIONS CONTRARY TO THE STATEMENT OF THE RFQ THAT "THIS WILL BE A TECHNICAL COMPETITION" AND THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 3-805.2 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) THAT COST IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AS CONTROLLING IN THE AWARD OF COST REIMBURSEMENT-TYPE CONTRACTS.

B-173540(2), MAR 20, 1972

BID PROTEST - COST-PLUS-INCENTIVE-FEE CONTRACT - EVALUATION CRITERIA DECISION DENYING PROTEST OF FEDERAL ELECTRIC CORPORATION (FEC) AGAINST AWARD OF A COST-PLUS-INCENTIVE-FEE CONTRACT TO QUINTRON SYSTEMS, INC., UNDER AN RFQ ISSUED BY THE SPACE AND MISSILE SYSTEMS ORGANIZATION (SAMSO), DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE. IN A TECHNICAL COMPETITION, COST IS NOT CONSIDERED AS CONTROLLING, PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 3-805.2 OF ASPR. HOWEVER, IT APPEARS THAT THE AWARD TO QUINTRON WAS BASED ON THE SUPERIORITY OF ITS PROPOSED MANNING AS WELL AS THE OPINION OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE FEC PROPOSAL LACKED COST REALISM. IN VIEW OF THESE FACTS, THE COMP. GEN. IS UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE EVALUATION CRITERIA EMPLOYED BY THE AIR FORCE WAS UNREASONABLE. ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.

TO FEDERAL ELECTRIC CORPORATION:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 24, 1971, AND PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING AGAINST THE THEN ANTICIPATED AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANOTHER FIRM UNDER REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS (RFQ) F04701-71-Q 0167, ISSUED BY THE SPACE AND MISSILE SYSTEMS ORGANIZATION (SAMSO), DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE.

THE RFQ ANTICIPATED A COST-PLUS-INCENTIVE-FEE CONTRACT COVERING THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF SAMSO COMMUNICATIONS AND ELECTRONICS SYSTEMS. AFTER NEGOTIATIONS HAD BEEN CONDUCTED WITH OFFERORS WITHIN A COMPETITIVE RANGE, ALL QUOTATIONS WERE ELIMINATED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THOSE RECEIVED FROM FEDERAL ELECTRIC CORPORATION (FEC) AND QUINTRON SYSTEMS, INC. FURTHER EVALUATION OF THESE QUOTATIONS LED TO THE DETERMINATION IN JULY 1971 THAT AWARD TO QUINTRON WOULD BE IN THE GOVERNMENT'S BEST INTERESTS. THAT AWARD WAS MADE ON OCTOBER 15, 1971.

IN JULY, BEFORE AWARD COULD BE MADE AND APPARENTLY BEFORE OFFICIAL WRITTEN NOTIFICATION OF SAME, FEC PROTESTED TO OUR OFFICE THAT IT SHOULD RECEIVE THE AWARD. FEC CONTENDS THAT IT IS THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE, RESPONSIBLE OFFEROR BASED ON ITS 10 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE SAMSO COMMUNICATIONS AND ELECTRONICS SYSTEM; THAT ITS PROPOSAL WOULD RESULT IN A COST SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT; AND THAT ITS PROPOSAL MUST HAVE BEEN TECHNICALLY EXCELLENT SINCE ITS NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE AIR FORCE DEALT ONLY WITH COST MATTERS. IN THIS CONNECTION, FEC OBSERVES THAT GIVEN THE TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE OF ITS PROPOSAL, AWARD TO ANOTHER FIRM MUST HAVE BEEN BASED ON COST CONSIDERATIONS CONTRARY TO THE STATEMENT OF THE RFQ THAT "THIS WILL BE A TECHNICAL COMPETITION" AND THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 3-805.2 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) THAT COST IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AS CONTROLLING IN THE AWARD OF COST REIMBURSEMENT-TYPE CONTRACTS.

A QUESTION AS TO FEC'S RESPONSIBILITY HAS NEVER BEEN DIRECTLY RAISED AND WE CONSIDER IT EXTRANEOUS TO THE PROTEST. WITH RESPECT TO THE TECHNICAL QUALITY OF ITS PROPOSAL, WE THINK IT CLEAR FROM THE RECORD THAT THE FEC PROPOSAL WAS INITIALLY OF SUFFICIENT QUALITY TO BE CONSIDERED WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE AND, SUBSEQUENT TO NEGOTIATIONS, FOR POSSIBLE AWARD. THIS IS NOT TO SAY, HOWEVER, THAT THE FEC PROPOSAL WAS SUPERIOR TECHNICALLY OR IN OTHER RESPECTS TO THE OTHER PROPOSAL BEING CONSIDERED FOR AWARD. ON THE CONTRARY, ALTHOUGH THE QUINTRON AND FEC PROPOSALS WERE APPARENTLY EQUAL TECHNICALLY, THE SOURCE SELECTION AUTHORITY (SSA) WAS OF THE OPINION THAT QUINTRON'S PROPOSED MANNING MORE CLOSELY MET THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS THAN DID FEC'S. MOREOVER, THE SSA FELT THAT THE FEC PROPOSAL LACKED COST REALISM. WHY A FIRM'S MANAGEMENT PLAN COULD NOT MATERIALLY AFFECT ITS ELIGIBILITY

ALTHOUGH THIS WAS A TECHNICAL COMPETITION, THE RFP, AT PART I, SECTION "D," SPECIFICALLY STATES THAT THIS FACT "DOES NOT IMPLY THAT THE MANAGEMENT PROPOSAL IS SUBORDINATE IN IMPORTANCE TO THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL IN THE DETERMINATION OF AWARD." IN VIEW OF THIS ADVICE, WE PERCEIVE OF NO REASON FOR AWARD. CONSEQUENTLY, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT COST WAS THE SOLE CONTROLLING FACTOR IN THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT, AS SUGGESTED, OR THAT THE CRITERIA USED BY THE AIR FORCE TO ELIMINATE FEC FROM FURTHER COMPETITION WERE UNREASONABLE.

ACCORDINGLY, ON THE RECORD BEFORE US, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.