ACS wins protest of Army award

The General Accounting Office has taken away a contract from a San Antonio company, saying it misrepresented itself in its bid. The watchdog agency also scolded the Army for not noticing red flags in the contractor's proposal.

After ACS Government Services Inc. protested the award of a purchase order to Metrica Inc., the GAO found Metrica claimed in its proposal that three ACS key employees had agreed to work for Metrica if it won the contract. ACS was the incumbent contractor, and that unit is now a part of Lockheed Martin Corp.

All three employees already had signed exclusive commitments to ACS as part of its bid proposal. Metrica never asked the three ACS employees to join its team, but the company included their resumes in its own proposal, along with a certificate signed by a company vice president that each person had agreed to work on the contract if Metrica won, according to GAO.

The Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity issued the purchase order for installation and training services for release 3.X of the Defense Medical Logistics Standard System, an automated information system that standardizes medical inventory management practices and other functions.

On Jan. 20, GAO recommended that the purchase order be awarded to ACS, and that Metrica be barred from rebidding, a rare action by the agency.

"It is unusual for us to recommend exclusion," said Dan Gordon, GAO associate counsel.

Gordon said the Army's decision to require that bidders include certifications for key employees contributed to the problem.

"Agencies should be careful and not require certification where it's not necessary," he said. "On the other hand, where they do require it, they need to watch for red flags."

In the case of Metrica, GAO found that Army evaluators did not notice the three employees were included in both proposals, nor did they notice that a Metrica representative, not the employees, signed the certifications.

The agency also decided the Army should pay ACS' legal expenses. Gordon said there is a relatively new provision in the Federal Acquisition Regulation that allows the Army to ask Metrica for reimbursement.

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