GAO sustains Rockwell FTS 2001 protest

"GAO bid protest decision"

The General Accounting Office has upheld a protest by Rockwell Electronic Commerce Corp. over a telecommunications contract because the Social Security Administration did not evaluate all the FTS 2001 costs associated with WorldCom Inc.'s winning bid.

Rockwell contended that WorldCom had a price advantage because it did not include the cost of FTS 2001 services in its proposal. GAO, in a Dec. 14 decision just released April 2, agreed with Rockwell.

GAO recommended that SSA reopen the competition for network-based services to replace the agency's automatic call distributors system, which automatically routes incoming toll-free calls to the appropriate person. GAO also asked SSA to amend the solicitation, to request and evaluate revised proposals, and to make an award consistent with the terms of the request for proposals. The RFP stated that telecom costs incurred by the agency outside the price of the contract would be included in the evaluated price.

"The agency's action in failing to evaluate [WorldCom's] FTS 2001 costs resulted in treating the offerors unequally and unfairly under the stated evaluation plan, and the price evaluation and resulting source-selection decision are unreasonable and inconsistent with the stated evaluation plan," Anthony Gamboa, GAO acting general counsel, wrote in the decision. Gamboa said if SSA had followed its evaluation criteria, Rockwell might have won the contract.

If a proposed solution other than WorldCom's is selected for award, GAO directed SSA to terminate the previous call-answering system contract with WorldCom.

WorldCom and Rockwell representatives did not comment in time for this report.

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