The U.S. Navy issued a solicitation for professional support services for its program executive office. The solicitation contemplated the issuance, on a best value basis, of a task order to the form submitting the proposal deemed most advantageous to the Government. There were several non-cost evaluation factors, as well as cost considerations. The solicitation required, among other things, that offerors include resumes for all proposed key personnel. Resumes would be evaluated as the second most important sub-factor under the most important non-price factor. The most important non-price factor was "technical capability and experience.
CACI Technologies Inc. (CACI), who was the incumbent contractor for these services, failed to include the required key personnel resumes. The Navy in turn, rejected CACI's bid, find that its proposal was noncompliant, and therefore ineligible for award. This requirement and omission by CACI were both pretty big deals because the Navy wrote:
CACI's failure to follow the instructions to submit the key personnel resumes prevents the Government from fully evaluating its proposal. The omission is particularly problematic where Key Personnel is the second most important sub-factor within the most important factor for evaluation purposes.CACI appealed the Navy's action to the Comptroller General (GAO). CACI conceded the fact that it failed to include the required resumes, .....but,
- The omission was an administrative error
- Despite the absence, its proposal nonetheless included much of the information that would have been found in those resumes
- The Navy should have found its proposal acceptable.
- The Navy unreasonably failed to engage in discussions with the firm in order to afford it an opportunity to correct its proposal.
The Navy responded stating,
- The key employee information included in the proposal did not include educational background, professional job experience, training, special experiences, qualifications, and certifications.
- Allowing CACI to submit the resumes after the fact would constitute discussions rather than clarifications.
The GAO found no merit in CACI's argument. In the final analysis, the Board ruled that CACI's position essentially is that it is in the government's best interest to engage in discussions because doing so will allow CACI to continue to participate as a competitor. While it may be in CACI's best interest, it is not in the Government's best interest.