Alliant GWAC, small-biz awards to be reassessed

The General Services Administration plans to re-evaluate past performance reviews for all 62 companies that bid on the $50 billion Alliant contract, and the agency expects to make new awards by December, a GSA official said today.

GSA wants to make sure it fairly applied its past performance evaluations to the companies that were in the running for the 10-year, governmentwide information technology contract, said John Johnson, assistant commissioner at the Federal Acquisition Service's Office of Integrated Technology Services.

GSA also plans to go through the same process for its Alliant Small Business contract awards because the agency used essentially the same evaluation template as the Alliant contract, he said.

"We want to make sure we do the right thing here and that we apply consistently," Johnson said. GSA wants to avoid any allegation of a flawed process, and it wants make sure that its decisions are fair and grounded on solid information, he said.

GSA initially awarded 29 companies spots in the Alliant contract on July 31 and added one more company in December. However, protests derailed those awards. Federal Claims Court Judge Francis Allegra on March 5 said GSA didn't fairly apply the evaluation standards in its Alliant awards.

Allegra held that GSA used a survey to gather the information, but it relied on questions that were too general. In addition, GSA didn't ensure that the information was relevant to the bid evaluations and didn't check the accuracy of the survey's sketchy information, according to the judge's opinion.

Meanwhile, GSA isn't starting the entire process again, and is focusing on the evaluation phase of the award process. Therefore, the agency is not gathering new data on the companies. However, this time GSA employees will conduct the evaluations instead of contracting out the work as it did for the first evaluations of the 62 bids.

As the process stretches into late this year, Johnson said GSA will extend the Applications 'N Support for Widely-diverse End-user Requirements (ANSWER) and Millenia governmentwide acquisition contracts for IT services. ANSWER will run through June 30, 2009, and Millenia will run through Oct. 31, 2009.

Johnson said GSA won't award spots on the Alliant contract to all 62 companies that bid on the contract. "Fundamentally there could be some assertion that the awards we made were flawed," he said. Moreover, he said handing awards to the 62 companies wouldn't bring agencies the best-in-class IT providers.

"We'd be throwing in the towel on integrity, if you will, but at the same time we'd be dismissing the objective of the program," he said.

Matthew Weigelt writes for Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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