GAO again sides with rec-site losing bidder

The Government Accountability Office for the second time has ruled in favor of Spherix Inc. of Beltsville, Md., in the vendor's protest of the Agriculture Department's award of its $97 million recreation information and reservation service contract to ReserveAmerica of Ballston Spa, N.Y.

Agriculture's Forest Service re-awarded the 10-year National Recreation Reservation System contract in June to ReserveAmerica, a subsidiary of Ticketmaster.

GAO, in a decision late last month, again found the award to be flawed. In December 2004, GAO sustained Spherix's protest of the first award to ReserveAmerica.

In its second protest, Spherix cited Agriculture's failure to conduct adequate discussions, improper evaluation of its offers and failure to justify its choice of ReserveAmerica's substantially higher cost, said Spherix spokeswoman Kathy Brailer.

In the latest decision, GAO found different issues with the procurement from the previous ruling, but they resulted in similar recommendations and indicated recompetition, according to an attorney familiar with the decision who wished to remain unnamed.

The Forest Service is studying the ruling and will determine which course to follow, said agency spokesman Dan Jiron. 'Whatever processes need to be followed, we will do it.'

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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