GAO upholds protest against GSA eGov Travel solicitation

Terms of solicitation judged ambiguous on what was required and what was optional

The Government Accountability Office has upheld a protest against the General Services Administration’s “E-Gov Travel” electronic travel management solicitation because of uncertainty about whether certain objectives were optional or required, the congressional watchdog agency announced.

CWTSatoTravel, also known as CW Government Travel Inc., filed the protest in November 2010 with regard to the GSA’s solicitation for the anticipated E-Gov Travel Service 2.0 contract for end-to-end federal travel management services in a secure, Web-based environment. The contract was to be a continuation of services based on a consolidation of three E-Gov Travel contract awards made in November 2003, including one to CWT.

CWT’s protest challenged several terms of the solicitation, including alleging that the language was vague or ambiguous. GAO sustained that finding and recommended that the solicitation be rewritten and reissued.

“We sustain the protest on the ground that the solicitation is ambiguous about whether the stated objectives are optional or may be requirements for award,” the GAO General Counsel Lynn Gibson wrote in theApril 22 GAO decision.

“We recommend that the agency revise the solicitation to clearly communicate whether the Statement of Work objectives are optional. For example, if the agency intends objectives to be optional, then the solicitation should be amended to eliminate the suggestion that the agency may unilaterally reject an exception taken to an objective,” the decision states.

“On the other hand, if the agency wishes to retain the flexibility of determining, after the receipt of proposals, that an objective will be mandatory rather than optional, then the solicitation should be amended to notify offerors that notwithstanding an exception taken to an objective, an offeror, pursuant to discussions, may be required to offer a technical solution and pricing for one or more of the objectives,” Gibson wrote.

The GAO also stated that CWT’s legal expenses should be reimbursed for the costs covering that portion of its protest. The GAO rejected other aspects of CWT’s protest.

GSA officials were not immediately available to comment.

About the Author

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

Reader Comments

Fri, Apr 29, 2011

Here is some real low-hanging fruit for Congress to pick as part of budget-cutting. DoD has a travel system up and running. It has warts aplenty, but it works. Why does military and 'everyone else' need 2 seperate travel systems? (Pretty much every civilian-side agency or program or web site or contract has a DoD-side mirror image, but you gotta start somewhere.) Something like a travel and accounting program seems like an obvious canditate to common-service Fed-wide.

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