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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Clerical error sinks MicoTech's bid for Army contract

It appears that an ill-timed clerical error sunk MicroTech’s bid for a $92 million contract to support the Army’s Pacific Command on an effort to modernize and operate its IT systems and services.

MicroTech was kicked out of the competition after it mistakenly checked the wrong box in its proposal. Said check box was to communicate whether the company would or would not provide certain communications equipment. The requirement was part of the Section 889 provision in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

The 2019 NDAA put restrictions on the use of certain communications equipment manufactured in China.

If a bidder on the Pacific Command contract said it would provide the equipment, then it had to include other information to meet the requirements set out in the NDAA and implementing regulations.

MicroTech both mistakenly checked the box that it would provide the equipment and didn’t include the information required.

The company argued that the General Services Administration, which was running the competition under the VETS 2 contract, should have asked for a clarification and that would have given MicroTech the opportunity to correct its mistake. MicroTech also argued that its mistake was obvious when reviewing the rest of the proposal and that should have triggered the Army to ask for a clarification.

The Government Accountability Office rejected MicroTech’s arguments stating that it is the bidders responsibility to “submit a well-written proposal…that clearly demonstrates compliance with the solicitation.”

GAO also said the disconnect in MicroTech’s proposal was a “clear error” but the “nature of the error was, itself, not clear.” From the proposal, one can’t tell whether MicroTech checked the wrong box or failed to supply the information.

There was nothing to let GSA know which mistake was made. “The agency was not required to fill in the gaps of MicroTech’s proposal, where the firm did not provide sufficiently clear information,” GAO wrote.

GAO also said that while GSA had the authority to ask for a clarification, it wasn’t required to do so. Not asking for the clarification was a “reasonable” action in GAO's eyes, as was kicking MicroTech out of the competition.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Aug 13, 2020 at 9:43 AM

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