GSA picks Symplicity -- again -- to redo

Editor's note:This story was updated at 10:27 a.m. Oct. 3. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

The General Services Administration’s three-year saga to award a contract to revamp the Federal Business Opportunities Web site took another turn Sept. 28 when the agency gave Symplicity the deal for the third time.

Despite two successful protests of the previous awards to Symplicity, GSA re-evaluated the same proposals that four companies — Aquilent, Devis, Information Sciences Corp. (ISC) and Symplicity — submitted in June 2005 and decided once again to award Symplicity a $17 million contract for three base years and five one-year options.

“Award of the FedBizOpps contract is a significant milestone,” Teresa Sorrenti, GSA’s director of acquisition systems, said in a press release. “It will further our mission to provide common, shared services to our customers and their suppliers in the federal acquisition community. I look forward to working with our new industry partner to continue to offer procurement opportunities in a transparent manner, using efficient, effective technology.”

"GSA awarded the FedBizOpps contract to the company that submitted the most competitive bid, providing the ability to manage the FedBizOpps Web site to provide the greatest service to its users at the most effective use of taxpayer dollars," GSA spokesman Brian Fillpot said. "An earlier awarding of this contract had been contested, and GSA is confident that it complied with the directions set forth in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims' decision. Based on the court's direction, the contracting officer reconsidered the competitive range determination, taking into consideration the prices of the proposals, and a new source selection authority was appointed to review existing evaluation documentation, and provide an independent award decision, based on best value to the government."

“We are very excited about the award and look forward to deploying a best-of-breed procurement system for the government,” a Symplicity spokesman said.

The unsuccessful bidders were once again disappointed with GSA’s decision.

Devis officials declined to comment until they received their post-award debriefing from GSA.

William Shook, ISC’s attorney, said the decision was astounding.

“We are disappointed in the process and are concerned that government has made an award apparently based upon an offer that was submitted two and a half years ago,” Shook said. “A reasonable course of action would have been to ask for new offers and evaluate them in order to best serve the million users of”

Shook said ISC would wait until it had its debriefing before deciding how to move forward.

GSA’s decision comes more than a year after ISC won its protest before the Court of Federal Claims and five months after GSA lost its request for reconsideration.

In the meantime, Shook said, GSA cut its funding under the current contract to Science Applications International Corp. and ISC, which is a subcontractor, to keep the current operating.

ISC and Devis protested the initial contract award to Symplicity in June 2005 to the Government Accountability Office. Before GAO decided, GSA amended the request for proposals and reopened bids in an attempt to fix the problems the protests pointed out. Then in December 2005, GSA awarded Symplicity the contract again.

ISC filed a protest with the Court of Federal Claims, and Devis joined as an intervener on ISC’s side. The court ruled in favor of ISC and Devis in August 2006. GSA asked the judge to reconsider her decision in September 2006, and she rejected GSA’s bid in April.

GSA then asked if the four bidders still were interested and re-evaluated the June 2005 proposals before making the decision to award Symplicity last week.


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