GSA prevails in agency-level protest of OASIS

Monday - 9/16/2013, 5:32am EDT

The General Services Administration came out on top on the second protest of its multi-billion OASIS contract for professional services. But it's going to be a short-lived victory, as the losing protester plans to file another objection with the Government Accountability Office in the coming weeks.

GSA's bid protest official Maria Swaby denied the claim made by Aljucar, Anvil- Incus, Inc. over the joint venture terms in the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) request for proposals.

In a statement obtained by Federal News Radio, Swaby wrote, "[A]fter consideration of the record and arguments in this case, I find that the agency has established the reasonableness of the restriction on joint ventures as necessary to meet its legitimate needs. I also find that protester has failed to show that the agency's explanation for the restriction is clearly unreasonable. Protester merely disagrees with the agency, which does not render the agency's judgment unreasonable." Aljucar, Anvil-Incus, Inc. filed its protest to the agency Aug. 8, claiming the requirement placed on joint ventures is unreasonable because it restricts competition and doesn't lets small businesses aggregate their past performance, a key factor in GSA's evaluation of bids.

"We didn't expect that the GSA would rule against itself and anticipated all along that we would have to eventually file our protest with the GAO," said Rudy Sutherland, the head of practice for Aljucar, Anvil-Incus, Inc., in an email to Federal News Radio. "Our intent in filing at the agency level was to determine what the agency's argument(s) might be so that we could refine our protest accordingly."

Sutherland said the company still contends "GSA fabricated its market research findings regarding joint ventures; both the contracting officer, Tommy Thomas and the OASIS director, Todd Richards, perjured themselves individually in separate declarations; AA-I & Co. does indeed have uncontestable standing to protest; Joint ventures are uncontestably in privity of contract for award of on OASIS unrestricted."

Aljucar, Anvil-Incus has 10 days to file a protest with GAO. Sutherland said the agency protest official didn't rule on the company's claim that GSA's market research was faulty, which is a key piece of evidence in the case.

A GSA spokeswoman said, "GSA has maintained the position that, while it welcomes proposals from joint ventures, those entities must demonstrate a successful track record of working together to supply the complex, integrated professional services that are the heart of the OASIS program. This position effectively treats joint ventures equally with all other offerors with regards to relevant experience, which GSA considers fair to all parties. This decision validates the reasonableness of the requirements of the OASIS solicitation."

GSA released the OASIS RFP July 31. Last week, the agency extended the due date for responses from Sept. 17 to Oct. 10.

Along with the due date extension, GSA issued a modification to adjust the past performance requirements.

"GSA is working closely with the small business community so that they can fairly compete and participate in this important procurement process," a spokeswoman said in an email statement.

USFalcon filed the other protest with GAO but dropped it in late August.

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