MicroTech scores protest victory
MicroTech has won a second chance at an Air Force contract for IT support after the GAO ruled that the government failed to properly evaluate the winner's employee compensation plan.
MicroTech won just enough points in its protest of an Air Force contract that the Air Force has to conduct a new evaluation and make a new award decision.
The company filed its protest after it lost a contract to BTAS Inc. of Beavercreek, Ohio, to provide IT services to the Air Force under the NetCents contract.
BTAS Inc. ‘s bid was $13.2 million compared to MircoTech’s $18 million bid. And since this was a lowest price, technically acceptable contract, you’d think MicroTech wouldn’t stand much of a chance on protest.
But the competition also required an evaluation of the bidders’ professional employee compensation plan and here is where MicroTech saw its opening.
While some of the specifics have been redacted, the Government Accountability Office found that the Air Force didn’t adequately analyze BTAS’ compensation plan.
GAO ruled that the agency didn’t “reasonably evaluate the realism of the awardee’s proposed ECP.”
The agency failed to document its evaluation, improperly relied on comparisons of the bidders rates and didn’t have a reasonable basis to evaluate the realism of the rates.
Finally, GAO found that the Air Force compared BTAS’s labor rates to salary.com survey but used the wrong data so it was essentially comparing apples to oranges.
Part of the Air Force’s evaluation included mapping the rates against each and the requirements of the contract. When GAO asked for this map, the Air Force provided new information that didn’t match what was in the analysis done by the agency earlier, GAO said.
This was one reason GAO ruled that it couldn’t determine if the analysis was reasonable. If it can’t determine if it is reasonable then it has no choice but to find it unreasonable.
Not everything went MicroTech’s way. GAO dismissed the company’s contention that the Air Force should have had discussions with the company about its price being so much higher than BTAS’s but GAO ruled that MicroTech’s price was reasonable so no discussions were required.
But that doesn’t matter. GAO found that the evaluation of the professional employee compensation plans had been done in a proper manner, BTAS could have been disqualified and MicroTech would have been in line for the award.
GAO has told the Air Force to conduct new evaluations and make a new award. It sounds good for MicroTech but it is no guarantee of a win. GAO also wants the Air Force to reimburse MicroTech’s bid protest costs.
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