Maryland companies win, lose contract protests -- Gazette.Net







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Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

That’s been the situation for several Maryland companies involved in recent protests of federal contracts reviewed by the Government Accountability Office.

One recent case involved two Maryland companies. A protest by Rockville information technology CISGi of a National Science Foundation contract won by Loyola University spinoff World Technology Evaluation Center of Baltimore was denied Nov. 6. The contract is for support services for a year, with four one-year options, for the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, which supports nanoscale research and development.

The Baltimore center, a nonprofit that conducts international technology assessments, submitted a slightly higher bid of $9.7 million, versus CISGi’s $9.6 million. But officials judged the nonprofit’s proposal to be better technically, according to the GAO report.

CISGi executives said in their protest that the agency’s evaluation of its proposal was improper and should have been rated higher for technical prowess. But GAO General Counsel Lynn H. Gibson said in a report that “none of the challenges provides a basis to sustain [CISGi’s] protest.”

Executives with CISGi could not be reached for comment.

Another Rockville company, Shred-it USA, was on the other side of a contract protest by Infoshred of East Windsor, Conn., that was successful. The GAO sustained Infoshred’s protest on Oct. 26 of a five-year purchase agreement for shredding services in Connecticut with the Department of Veterans Affairs initially won by Shred-it.

Infoshred protested the agency’s rejection of its bid due to a failure to acknowledge a solicitation amendment. The amendment in question was covered in another amendment that Infoshred addressed, Gibson said. The VA’s rejection of Infoshred’s bid due to failure to acknowledge that amendment was “unreasonable,” she said.

The GAO recommended that the VA re-evaluate quotations, including the one submitted by Infoshred, and make a new selection decision. The agency also recommended that the VA reimburse the Connecticut company for costs of filing and pursuing the protest, including reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Executives with Shred-It could not be reached for comment.

Just because a company wins a protest, that doesn’t mean it automatically receives the contract or that the issue is rebid.

A joint venture of Clark Construction Group of Bethesda and Foulger-Pratt of Rockville is still waiting to hear what the State Department will do after it won a protest in July of a $446.8 million contract awarded to B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Ala., to build a new U.S. embassy in London.

Louise Pulizzi, a spokeswoman for Clark Construction, referred questions Thursday on whether the State Department had rebid the contract to that agency. A State Department spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The GAO recommended the State Department re-evaluate its decision. The State Department hopes to have the new embassy completed by 2017.

Clark/Foulger-Pratt proposed a price of $452.6 million for the embassy project, according to a GAO report. The GAO recommended that the Clark/Foulger-Pratt joint venture be reimbursed for filing the protest.