GSA asks court to rethink ruling on FedBizOpps.gov

The Justice Department, on behalf of the General Services Administration, asked the Federal Claims Court to reconsider two parts of its recent decision that found GSA erred in its awarding of the contract for FedBizOpps.gov.

According to the redacted motion filed by the government, Justice is asking the court to revisit the order to bring in a new source selection authority, and the judge's conclusion that GSA incorrectly calculated the bid from the winning vendor, Symplicity Corp. of Arlington, Va. GSA awarded Symplicity a $17.4 million contract that includes three base years and five one-year options in December after re-evaluating bids following a first protest by Development Infostructure (Devis) Corp. of Arlington, Va., and Information Sciences Corp. of Silver Spring, Md.

ISC, which is the subcontractor to Science Applications International Corp., currently supports FedBizOpps.gov.

'First, the court's conclusions with respect to the 'independent judgement' of the source selection authority in considering Symplicity's proposal do not completely reflect the record of evidence,' U.S. attorneys wrote. 'Moreover, injunctive relief should be limited to returning the procurement to the existing [source selection authority], given the absence of any allegations'let along evidence'of bad faith, bias or any other basis to disqualify the SSA ...'

The court in September found in favor of Devis and ISC in their second protest and ordered GSA to appoint a new source selection authority and re-evaluate the bids. This contract has been going on since June 2005.

'GSA still is operating FedBizOpps and will continue to operate it,' said a GSA spokeswoman. 'We can't comment on litigation.'

Joseph Petrillo, a procurement attorney with Petrillo and Powell in Washington and a GCN columnist, said GSA's decision to file a reconsideration motion is somewhat unusual, but not unprecedented. Though, he added, reconsideration is rarely granted.

In the motion, Justice also argues that GSA didn't err in evaluating Symplicity's price because it was not a flat fee, but over a certain time period. The redacted motion does not show the total price or the number of years.

'Instead, the evidence suggests that Symplicity's price, even if price had been used to eliminate offers, would have made Symplicity's offer more attractive and more likely to remain in the competitive range,' U.S. attorneys said.

GSA does admit that they calculated Symplicity's total price incorrectly, but Devis and ISC should not benefit from the agency's mistake, U.S. attorneys added.

Additionally, Justice asked the judge to reconsider her ruling for GSA to appoint a new source selection authority even if the decision stands. Attorneys said that there is no evidence that the SSA acted in bad faith and therefore return the procurement the source selection authority. The SSA was Debra Sonderman, the Interior Department's director, Office of Acquisition and Property Management, sources said.

'The judge clearly thought through all these issues and I am surprised DOJ is arguing that the important facts were not well represented in the court's order ' which I thought was very clear,' said Peter Gallagher, president of Devis. 'I guess we must now wait to see if another round of comments will be entertained by the court. We are obviously disappointed that additional legal proceedings are delaying the award.'

There is no time frame for the judge to decide on Justice's motion, according to the court's clerk office.

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