Qwest bid protest dismissed, but GAO says it might have merit

GAO lacked jurisdiction but said contract award appeared to violate FAR

Although the Government Accountability Office recently dismissed a bid protest by Qwest Government Services Inc. because GAO said it lacked jurisdiction to consider it, the congressional watchdog agency suggested that Qwest’s protest had merit.

Qwest had protested a data hosting services award to Verizon by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under the General Services Administration’s Networx Universal contract. The contract called for Verizon, which was the incumbent, to provide the services to the agency’s Technology Engineering and Consolidation Center.

In its protest, filed in March, Qwest objected to language in the Request for Quotations providing for the addition of approximately $14 million to the evaluated prices of contractors other than Verizon. The additional money was intended to cover costs that the agency would incur if the services were provided in a new location. Qwest argued that the additional pricing was unfair.

In the GAO decision, which was posted on the agency website in the past several days, GAO General Counsel Lynn Gibson suggested that the additional pricing scheme appeared to violate the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

“While we do not have jurisdiction to entertain the protest, we point out that the above evaluation scheme appears to be inconsistent with Federal Acquisition Regulation § 45.202, which provides that the offered prices of contractors possessing government-furnished property should be adjusted by applying, for evaluation purposes, a rental equivalent evaluation factor,” Gibson wrote in the decision.

Qwest Communications International Inc., of Denver, ranks No. 56 on Washington Technology’s 2010 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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