Battelle proves unequal treatment in CDC competition
A common argument in bid protests is when the protesting company claims that the government showed some advantage to the winning company that was denied to the protester.
Generally, the grounds for these claims are a bit vague and usually are in the eyes of the beholder. The Government Accountability Office almost always rules in the government’s favor because the advantage the protest claims is more implicit than explicit.
That definitely was not the case in Battelle’s protest of a Center for Disease Control and Prevention contract that went to the former CSRA (now part of General Dynamics IT) instead of Battelle.
Battelle argued that its technical approach was assessed a weaknesses because it didn’t address one of the subfactors in the solicitation. But when evaluating the CSRA-GDIT proposal, CDC didn’t assign the same weakness to that proposal when GDIT also didn’t address the same subfactor.
This alone was enough for GAO to sustain Battelle’s protest and send it back to CDC to re-evaluate the proposals and make a new award decision.
GDIT proposed a price tag of $23.4 million, while Battelle bid $23.7 million. Even with that weakness, Battelle had a higher technical approach score at 38.6 versus 34.2 for GDIT, as well as a higher total score of 93.6, compared to GDIT’s 90.3 score.
Both companies were rated as acceptable so CDC picked GDIT because it had a lower price.
The contract is to provide CDC with consulting and research-and-development services to support responses to influenza epidemics and pandemics.
GAO denied some other parts of Battelle’s protest. For example, GDIT submitted 12 examples of prior similar work instead of the four requested in the solicitation. GAO found that CDC didn’t consider the additional eight in making the decision.
While several of Battelle’s claims were denied, it only took one to lead GAO to sustain the protest.
This doesn’t mean that Battelle will ultimately be the winner, but it does put them back in the hunt.
Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 01, 2020 at 1:21 PM