GAO: losing company misread Web posting on Deepwater
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jan 29, 2009
A federal contractor’s losing protest of an $88 million Coast Guard contract award for the service's Deepwater Fast Response Cutters was based partly on an erroneous interpretation of information posted on a Coast Guard Web site, according to a Government Accountability Office decision posted on Jan. 28.
GAO on Jan. 12 rejected a protest by Marinette Marine Corp. for the award of the Deepwater contract to Bollinger Shipyards Lockport LLC. The GAO decision was later posted on the Web.
In the complaint, Marinette said the Coast Guard improperly evaluated technical factors, pricing structures, organizational conflicts of interest, and personal conflicts of interest related to the award. The GAO did not find merit in those arguments.
Marinette also asserted that the Coast Guard did not have the authority to make the award because former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff rescinded that authority under orders from Congress. Marinette said that was the situation at the time of the award, based on information posted on the Coast Guard’s Web site.
However, the Coast Guard explained that “the protester misread the Web site posting,” the GAO said. Also, the Coast Guard submitted several documents to support its position that it had the proper authority at the time of the contract award.
“In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we see no reason to consider this issue further,” Gary Kepplinger, GAO's general counsel, wrote in the decision.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.