EDS challenges E-Travel awards

The General Services Administration's $450 million contract for a new civilian electronic travel system is under protest by a losing bidder.

EDS Corp. filed a petition with the General Accounting Office Aug. 29 asking that work on the 10-year contract cease and desist until the audit agency decides whether GSA properly evaluated the offers.

"We believe the procurement process was not fair to all bidders," EDS spokesman Kevin Clarke said. "The award decision was flawed in a number of respects."

GSA awarded two contracts Aug. 15 to Carlson Wagonlit Government Travel Inc. of San Antonio and the Mission Systems unit of Northrop Grumman Corp. The two vendors are to supply end-to-end systems for everything from processing travel authorizations and making reservations to submitting claims and reconciling vouchers.

The work will be the main component of E-Travel, one of 25 cross-agency e-government initiatives that aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.

Clarke said GSA's evaluation came up short in three areas:

  • Lowest overall cost, which he said EDS offered


  • An outstanding evaluation by GSA of Northrop's technical and past performance although it had been over-budget and off-schedule as a Defense Travel System contractor?the basis for its E-Travel bid


  • An extra opportunity for one bidder to demonstrate its system without EDS having had the same chance.


  • A GSA spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on outstanding legal issues. GAO has until Dec. 8 to render a decision.

    Clarke said EDS runs travel systems in three agencies, including the Veterans Affairs Department, and wants the chance to compete fairly.

    "Government agencies should have the opportunity to consider EDS' lowest-cost system," he said. "We don't want to cancel the other two contracts but just be a part of the competition."

    Joseph Petrillo, a partner in the law firm of Petrillo and Powell and a GCN columnist, said it seems to be a standard protest.

    "GSA has 25 days to file its position on the protest with GAO, and EDS' lawyers will then decide if they want to continue with the protest or drop out based on GSA's documents," he said.

    Gail Repsher Emery, who writes for Washington Technology magazine, contributed to this story. Jason Miller writes for Government Computer News

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