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Posted by Dave Smith On 12/20/2005 02:03:00 PM 6 comments

Much to our dismay, we received notice that we did not make the cut for the VETS GWAC contract. Surprisingly, their rationale was on a completely inconsequential technical detail- the spreadsheet that we submitted rates on. There were two spreadsheets on this to complete, both essentially the same, listing contract line item position categories and hourly rates, which are then carried from year to year with escalators.

The first spreadsheet covered the base years, the second additional years. For the first we were asked to submit an escalator, to cover price increases year-to-year. The second, for subsequent years, would follow the same rationale and methodology. The issue evidently was that we filled in the escalator for the second sheet. GSA says they were going to fill that in for us.

A.) The same escalator was used by us and
B.) There was absolutely nothing precluding GSA from entering any escalator they like, as they would have anyways.

As a result of this inconsequential nonsense, we along with a consortium of over a dozen other Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses are going to lose out on potential opportunities, not to mention the tremendous investment of time that we put in on the effort to prepare our proposal.

Needless to say, we are going to protest. It seems the fine ladies and gentlemen at GSA have missed the point of this exercise, which was to help small businesses, and to help the disabled vets who sacrificed for their country, as opposed to limit and restrict them with nonsense. Particularly after they allowed a number of other businesses to submit their proposals after the solicitation had already closed. I would think that missing the submittal deadline would be a far more substantial breach than this.

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6 Response for the " VETS GWAC "

  1. Anonymous says:

    In the price sheet's provided by the government please note that years 1-5 are locked. In "unlocking" 1-5, option years 6-10 unlock as well.

    As a result there is only 3 ways to have submitted the pricing: (1) is recreate the spreadsheet the government provided possible losing the formulas for escalation, (2) recreate the government form and also recreate the formulas, and (3) having the password to the form provided by the government.

    GSA did not provide a password to use the password protected form to all the interested bidders.

    GSA in part, is throwing vendors out for violating the expressed "as is" instructions applicable to the prescribed form by both unlocking the option year cells and filling them in, and also by stripping out the auto populating formulas.

    They have failed to understand four important points here: (1) the pricing forms issued to industry by GSA for the RFP were password protected and they didn't provide a password to the bidders, so they could correctly use the form (2) the pricing forms issued by GSA have dollar values in option years 6-10 as provided by the government which is in contradiction to the stated RFP requirement to not submit pricing for years 6-10 (meaning their form in its original state untouched by industry has dollar values in it for years 6-10), (3) that every vendor that submitted pricing forms had to have altered the pricing form to submit pricing for years 1-5, and (4) the question and answering period for the competition had already opened and closed before industry discovered the error in GSA's pricing sheet.

    To instill what little integrity is left in this process GSA needs to understand and come to terms with the above four points and reinstate those companies dismissed for technical errors in the completion of the pricing forms because the technical errors and inconsistencies originated form GSA.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Based on the information above and taking into consideration the "after submittal date extension" together with the faulty government issued pricing forms. GSA needs to provide full disclosure and proof of transparency.

    It can begin to do this by providing the percentage of the companies not thrown out for the pricing form error that were aloud to submit after the "re-opening" of the procurement, and the percentage of those companies that submitted prior to the first closing of the competition, but were thrown out on the pricing technicality because this would indicate at least two very real possibilities.

    (1) The companies that submitted after the final due date was extended received an unfair advantage for pricing the proposal, and/or (2) that in providing an unfair advantage to certain participants of the vendor pool there is a significantly higher probability of winning the procurement for those companies that submitted after the reopening, and this is most probably due to pricing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    just a thought on the VETS GWAC:

    "The Veterans Benefits Act of 2003, provides that a CO (Contracting Officer) may award a sole source contract to an SDVO SBC when: (1) The anticipated award price of the contract, including options, will not exceed $5,000,000 for a requirement within the NAICS codes for manufacturing or $3,000,000 for a requirement within all other NAICS codes"

    This verbage tells me that each SDVO cannot, by law, be contracted for more than $5.0 million

    However, if the VETS GWAC offering (as established by Executive Order) is for $5.0 billion and only a MAXIMUM of 700 (400?) companies have applied for the contract, then the maximum that could be offered would be $3.5 billion (700 x $5.0 million = $3.5 billion), which would not fulfill the requirement set out by Executive Order. Therefore, the VETS GWAC would have to be reopened or else violate the Executive Order.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Having read anonymous comments through May 24, 10:37 a.m., it is very clear that many of the SDVOSB complaining here must spend as much time studying and learning the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). In other words, you should better prepare yourselves for the competitive environment of doing business with the Federal Government. GSA was quite clear that companies that failed to follow instructions would be eliminated from the competition. Such ommissions in this important competition reflect that your attention to detail is not something worthy of an award of one of the VETS contracts. Learn from this!

  5. The issue we encountered was not one of not following directions, but attempting to follow direction, but being presented with a faulty spreadsheet.

    But it all ends well for us - as it turns out, we are also on two winning teams.

  6. Let's amend that - we are actually on THREE winning teams - congratulations to our partners. They likewise all acknowledged there were problems, but all had their own approaches toward the solution. Evidently GSA picked and chose among these approaches.

    Since we now have three to pick from, I won't quibble.