Protest Alleging That Agency Improperly Evaluated Proposal

B-195858: May 20, 1980

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A firm protested the award to another firm of a contract for engineering and management support services by the Department of Energy's Office of Conservation and Solar Applications (DOE). The firm, as the incumbent contractor, contended that: (1) DOE did not understand the merit of its offer and therefore evaluated it improperly; (2) the evaluation procedure was inconsistent with the request for proposals (RFP) due to the failure to give proper weight to a portion of the proposal and the use of undisclosed evaluation criteria; (3) DOE failed to conduct meaningful discussions by not advising the firm of the perceived weaknesses in its proposal; and (4) as a consequence of the failure to conduct meaningful discussions, the firm was denied an opportunity to submit a true best and final offer. GAO held that the allegation of improper evaluation was not supported by the record, which showed that the agency properly evaluated the proposal but disagreed with the proposed technical approach concerning the role of the project manager. Nor did the record support the allegation concerning inconsistency with the RFP. The allegation that the discussions were not meaningful was not sufficiently supported by the evidence, and the agency reported that it asked questions which specifically addressed significant deficiencies in the proposal. Therefore, the protest was denied.

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