Court vacates $17.4M FedBizOpps contract award

Editor's note: This story was updated at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 7, 2006. Please see Corrections & Clarifications.

The Court of Federal Claims has decided that the General Services Administration must vacate its $17.4 million award to Symplicity to develop and run the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, according to a statement released today by Development InfoStructure (Devis), an information technology provider to federal agencies, which protested the award.

The decision remains under seal until the parties to the action can review the ruling and remove any confidential material “because this apparently will continue to be a pending procurement,” said Rob Ryland, Devis counsel at Kirkland and Ellis. The decision should be released in a couple of weeks, he said.

The court did grant permission for the statement, he added.

GSA manages FedBizOpps, the single point of entry for all federal procurement information and opportunities.

Devis was one of several vendors to respond to the solicitation, which called for developing an improved FedBizOpps system to be securely maintained and operated for an eight-year period.

The Devis proposal included as subcontractors the Jefferson Consulting Group of Washington, D.C., and SRA International of Fairfax, Va.

Before the award announcement, Devis was told in a GSA debriefing that it was the highest-ranked bidder. But in July 2005, GSA awarded the contract to Symplicity.

Devis and Information Sciences Corp. (ISC), another bidder, immediately filed administrative protests with the Government Accountability Office. The agency reviewed its decision and last December reaffirmed its original award to Symplicity.

Devis then filed a protest with GAO, one of two available options, the other being the courts.

“Unbeknownst to us, [ISC] went to court, which generally takes more time. The GAO process is much simpler,” Ryland said. He added that Devis then joined ISC in the court action.

By filing the protests, Devis and ISC gained access to the GSA decision-making record. “And then based on the record, we laid out what we believed were violations of the law. And the judge has agreed with us,” Ryland said.

The judge did not tell GSA what to decide, he said. The court ruled that GSA’s decision was invalid. Ryland said he could not discuss the record or the violations until the court lifts the seal.

NEXT STORY: Vendors feel market squeeze

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