CONTRACTS

GSA nixes Alliant 2 SB awards in wake of court ruling

After seemingly one favorable ruling after another, a federal judge has ruled the General Services Administration will have to reconsider all bids for the small business track of its $15 billion Alliant 2 IT services contract vehicle.

GSA cannot proceed with the current roster of 81 awardees on the 10-year contract and has to address the issues raised by protestor Citizant, according to a 19-page ruling issued March 11 that was unsealed March 25.

GSA has since returned Alliant 2 SB to pre-award status and has rescinded all awards it made in February of last year, the agency said in a subsequent FedBizOpps notice posted Tuesday. A second attempt at awards “is expected at a point to be determined,” GSA added.

The agency declined our request for additional comment.

Chantilly, Virginia-based Citizant successfully argued that GSA credited competitors’ bids for having acceptable cost accounting systems more than the agency should have and improperly evaluated pricing in some proposals, Federal Claims Court Chief Judge Margaret Sweeney ruled.

During the source selection process, the contracting officer for Alliant 2 SB relied on letters bidders supplied from the Defense Contract Audit Agency to determine if cost accounting systems were adequate. But that type of evidence of having an adequate CAS system can only be used on cost-reimbursable contracts, according to the ruling.

On the point of improper pricing evaluation, Citizant claimed that GSA calculated the deviation range after proposals were submitted and bids outside of that range did not require a detailed rationale other than for direct labor rates. Prices were inconsistently evaluated without any acknowledgement or explanation and by two different sets of calculations against the deviation range, according to the ruling.

This ruling essentially means that disappointed bidders will get at least another chance to gain a spot on the highly-prized contract and winners cannot proceed on trying to win work on the vehicle. There is also the chance that there could be churn in the roster of winners, where some awardees may not be chosen again but those who missed out may win a position.

Five months after award, Alliant 2 SB protesters went to U.S. Court of Federal Claims in July but then GSA won a series of initial favorable rulings in September when five protestors had their lawsuits dismissed. Two other lawsuits were dismissed later that year prior to the ruling in Citizant’s favor.

Metrica Team Venture’s lawsuit was dismissed in November 2018 but they have taken their argument to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The $50 billion large business piece of Alliant 2 opened for business in June of last year after GSA received a favorable ruling in Federal Claims Court.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also find and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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