GSA expands Alliant awards by one

Technology contract is on hold while waiting for a federal claims court ruling

When will Alliant be ready?

The General Services Administration’s $50 billion Alliant governmentwide technology contract has been on hold for nearly six months because of protests by unsuccessful bidders. Eight companies claim GSA reviewed their proposals unfairly and are asking the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to disallow the original awards and require GSA to restart the process.

2006

Sept. 19: GSA releases its request for proposals for the 10-year Alliant contract.

2007

July 31: GSA announces awards to 29 of the 66 companies that submitted
proposals.

Aug. 24: STG files a bid protest with the Government Accountability Office.

Aug. 27: Stanley Associates and the Centech Group also file protests with GAO.

Sept. 26: Serco files a lawsuit against the awards with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. In light of that action, GAO dismisses the companies’ protests, and the court announces it will consider the protests as one case.

Dec. 17: GSA awards 62 small businesses a place on the Alliant Small Business contract.

Dec. 21: Stanley Associates earns a spot on the contract after GSA reviews the nine companies’ protests.

2008

March: A federal claims court judge is expected to rule on the protests.

— Matthew Weigelt

One down, eight more to go — that’s the number of protests the General Services Administration faces before it can begin taking orders under the Alliant governmentwide information technology contract.

Earlier this month, Stanley Associates dropped its complaint against GSA’s decision to award 29 other vendors a place on the 10-year, $50 billion Alliant contract because GSA added Stanley to it  
Dec. 21.

Lawsuits filed by eight other companies to protest GSA’s awards will continue in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Meanwhile, six months after the initial awards, agencies still can’t place task orders for Alliant products or services.

A court of claims judge is expected to rule on the eight protests in early March, court officials confirmed.
Alliant offers components for integrated IT solutions and services. GSA has touted how easy it will be for agencies to buy through Alliant’s streamlined buying procedures.

Alliant and its companion contract for small firms, Alliant Small Business, are successors to two other GSA governmentwide acquisition contracts. GSA awarded Alliant Small Business to 62 companies in December.

After not making the Alliant cut, Stanley followed STG by filing a protest with the Government Accountability Office in August.

Serco, another unsuccessful bidder, filed a protest in claims court, pushing all other protests out of GAO into one lawsuit.

George Wilson, executive vice president of Stanley, said company executives were surprised by GSA’s decision to leave them off the contract.

GSA said it decided to review the nine companies’ protests before the judge issued a decision. After thoroughly reviewing the protests from those companies, GSA determined that only Stanley deserved an Alliant award, said Dirk Filppot, a GSA spokesman.

GSA and Stanley would not discuss why Stanley received an award after GSA’s review.

In court documents, Stanley argued that, if the decision had not been flawed, it would have been ranked in the top 28 of the 66 proposals GSA received.

The other firms are still waiting to hear from the judge.

“We do feel confident enough that it’s worth going forth,” Steve McCarney, senior manager of communications at Serco, said about the lawsuit. GSA’s decision regarding Stanley doesn’t change how Serco views the lawsuit, he said.

Phone calls to several other protesters seeking comment on GSA’s decision regarding Stanley were not returned.

According to court documents, Serco, Stanley and the other companies questioned GSA’s selection criteria. They charged that GSA’s award was flawed and should be set aside.

Specifically, the vendors claim that GSA’s basic contract plan evaluations treated them unfairly and GSA didn’t follow the criteria described in the request for proposals.

The companies contend there were problems in determining the best value among the proposals and that past performance reviews violated the request for proposals.  GSA asked questions unrelated to the Alliant contract, the court documents state.

The companies agreed that if GSA had done what its RFP said, they would have a better chance of receiving an award, according to the documents.

Alliant will replace two existing IT contracts.

One of them, Millennia, provides IT services, hardware, software and firmware. That contract, which has yet to reach its ceiling, has $15.08 billion available, GSA said. Applications’N Support for Widely diverse End-user Requirements, the other GWAC that Alliant replaces, is a $25 billion vehicle for IT services. It expires in 2009.

Although Alliant remains bogged down with protests, its companion contract, Alliant Small Business, has not been protested.

GSA awarded 62 small businesses a place on the 10-year, $15 billi on contract. It mirrors much of what Alliant offers. Agencies can use the contract to meet their small-business contracting goals, which most departments and agencies have struggled to achieve. Alliant Small Business is GSA’s first small-business set-aside governmentwide contract, agency officials said.

“This contract allows our customers to acquire IT solutions in a streamlined, flexible manner while meeting their socio-economic responsibilities,” said Jim Williams, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service commissioner.

The contract provides easy access to a range of management and technical support services. GSA officials said Alliant Small Business is one of the most flexible small-business contracts for IT solutions in government. 

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