GAO upholds USAJobs award protest

GAO's protest decision

The General Accounting Office has upheld the protest of a contract awarded for the upgrade of USAJobs, the Office of Personnel Management's online job site.

In January, OPM awarded a contract potentially worth $62 million to TMP Worldwide Government Services Inc., now known as Monster Government Solutions. Improvements sought for USAJobs include an enhanced search engine so that job seekers can search for a position in a variety of ways, a resume-builder tool, and online vacancy announcements that are shorter and easier to read.

GAO sustained the protest filed by losing bidder Symplicity Corp. because OPM did not adequately consider whether the services TMP identified in its quotation were covered by its Federal Supply Schedule contract, and because the agency did not reasonably evaluate quotations with regard to the vendor's proposed prices for system integration.

Symplicity and TMP were among the three vendors that OPM determined were in the competitive range for the USAJobs contract. In the end, OPM chose TMP's higher-priced, higher-rated quotation, according to GAO.

However, Symplicity argued — and GAO agreed — that TMP's quote included services that were not contained under its schedule contract. Labor categories included in a vendor's quotation "must be listed on the vendor's schedule contract before a task order is issued," GAO said in its April 29 decision.

In addition, GAO agreed with Symplicity's claim that its fixed-price quote included the price for systems integration while TMP's quote did not.

GAO recommended that OPM "reopen discussions with all vendors whose quotations are in the competitive range and request and re-evaluate revised quotations."

Carl Peckinpaugh, senior counsel for Computer Sciences Corp. and a Federal Computer Week columnist, said GAO sustains 15 percent to 20 percent of its protest decisions. While OPM is not legally required to follow GAO's recommendations, agencies generally do.

An OPM spokesman declined to speak on the situation, saying, "The matter is still a pending legal issue and therefore we cannot comment."

Symplicity is an 8(a) vendor that provides software applications to manage numerous facets of college recruiting, from career fairs to on-campus interviewing.

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