Symplicity loses second protest of USAJobs.gov contract

The Government Accountability Office may finally have ended the two-year saga surrounding the refurbishing of the USAjobs.gov Web site.

Yesterday GAO rejected a second protest by Symplicity Corp. of Arlington, Va., of the Office of Personnel Management's contract award to Monster Government Solutions of Maynard, Mass., to run the government's online employment portal.

GAO had upheld Symplicity's January protest of the original award to Monster. But OPM decided against recompeting the contract until the House Government Reform Committee threatened to withhold future project funding.

OPM released the new request for proposals in July 2004, and it took about 12 months to award the new contract, again to Monster. Symplicity submitted another protest, but this time GAO sided with OPM.

"We are disappointed with the decision," said a Symplicity spokesman. "We don't believe the government justified the reasons to choose a solution that was $13 million more. We are concerned that OPM just went through the motions." The spokesman added that the company has not decided whether to pursue this further.

GAO said OPM evaluated the offers fairly and that Symplicity did not address the agency's concerns about the company's proposal, including training for federal employees and integrating America's Job Bank with USAJobs.gov.

"There was a 14 point-protest and the GAO came back time after time after time that OPM's decision was proper. We have delivered a product (USAJOBS) that has stood up to the protest," said Ron Flom, acting associate director of OPM's Management Services Division.

Monster's contract is worth $27.1 million over five years and includes a number of improvements for the site.

Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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