DOCUMENT FOR RELEASE TO THE PUBLIC
The choice issued on the next date was topic to a protecting order from the GAO. This redacted model has been authorised for public launch.
Matter of: Kizano Company
Date: March 8, 2023
William T. Welch, Esq., and Orest J. Jowyk, Esq., Reston Legislation Group, LLP, for protester.
Brendan O’Donnell, Strategic Ventures Consulting Group, LLC, for the intervener.
Aleia Barlow, Esq., and Catherine Gilabert, Esq., Division of Veterans Affairs, for the company.
Kasia Dourney, Esq., and Alexander O. Levine, Esq., Workplace of the Basic Counsel, GAO, participated within the preparation of the choice.
Criticism that the company improperly excluded the protesters’ proposal from consideration underneath a stage reserved completely for Small Companies Owned by Disabled Veterans Solely (SDVOSB) is denied if the protesters’ subcontractor was not listed as SDVOSB verified within the relevant database.
Kizano Company, a Veterans with Disabilities-Owned Small Enterprise (SDVOSB) in Woodbridge, Virginia, is protesting its exclusion from consideration for a Tier 1 bidder underneath Request for Proposals (RFP) No. 36C10X21R0022, issued by the Division of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Basic Administration and Enterprise Assist Companies. The protester claims the VA has incorrectly labeled Kizanos’ standing as a Tier 3 Bidder, as an alternative of a Tier 1 Bidder.
We deny the protest.
The company issued the solicitation on February 8, 2021 for a broad vary of normal administration and enterprise assist companies and options underneath the businesses’ Veteran Enterprise Contracting for Transformation and Operational Readiness (VECTOR) procurement. Contracting Officers Assertion (COS) to 2; See Company Report (AR), Factsheet 1, RFP at 6. By the VECTOR procurement, the company sought to award open-ended, indefinite-quantity contracts in a number of award throughout six service teams. RFPs at 6.
Underneath Service Group 1, at challenge on this protest, the VA has sought proposals associated to program and venture administration, strategic planning, efficiency measurement, high quality measurement, enterprise course of re-engineering, enterprise course of enchancment, . . . enterprise course of administration and alter administration and transition companies. id. at 9. The solicitation envisaged the award of contracts on the premise of the perfect compromise, taking into consideration technical capability and worth. id. at 7.
Related on this case, the RFP supplied for a withdrawal premium primarily based on a tiered valuation technique, as follows:
Degree 1: SDVOSB collaborating/subcontracting completely with SDVOSB and VOSB [veteran-owned small businesses]
Degree 2– SDVOSB they collaborate/subcontract with [s]purchasing middle [b]firms ([o]in comparison with SDVOSB and VOSB), [j]anointed [v]entures that embrace [s]purchasing middle [b]enterprise
Degree 3– SDVOSB they collaborate/subcontract with [l]nice [b]firms, [j]anointed [v]entures that embrace [l]nice [b]enterprise.
id. at 53. The solicitation indicated that [t]stage 1 proposals will likely be evaluated first. id. The RFP continued that if [a]After the assessment of [t]ier 1 proposals, . . . a variety of prizes could also be awarded which can assist sufficient competitors in a bunch of companies, extra tiers won’t be examined. id.
The solicitation suggested that the VA would conduct an preliminary evaluation of compliance with the solicitation directions earlier than starting its technical and pricing assessment. id. Bidders have been knowledgeable that [a]ny proposals that don’t meet the [initial compliance] the factors will likely be faraway from consideration. id. The RFP required, amongst different issues, that:
[a]The SDVOSB and VOSB subcontractors. . . be VetBiz[]Verified and authorized in SAM [System for Award Management] underneath NAICS [North American Industry Classification System] code[]541611 to qualify for Tier 1. . . . Verification in VetBiz alone doesn’t meet the necessities for dimension customary authentication. Bidders and subcontractors should even be licensed in SAM.gov following the SBA [Small Business Administration] tips for certification as a small enterprise.
id. The requirement to be verified in VetBiz utilized to all bidders, on the time the proposal was submitted. id. Moreover, to qualify for Tier 1, a bidder needed to be licensed within the SAM database and meet the dimensional customary per NAICS 541611 at each the time of proposal submission and the time of award. RFPs at 53; id. to connect. H, Questions and Solutions (Q&A) no. 4.
By the solicitation time limit of March 1, 2021, the company had obtained 141 proposals for Service Group 1, together with one proposal from Kizano. COS at 3. Kizanos Proposal Recognized as Proposed Subcontractor Alaris Advisors, LLC, situated at 6204 Farnam Cluster in Centerville, Virginia. AR, Tab 5, Kizanos Proposal at 2. The company couldn’t confirm that Alaris Advisors was an SDVOSB and subsequently concluded that Kizanos’ proposal ought to be thought of in stage 3. COS at 6; AR, Factsheet 8, Letter from Unsuccessful Bidder at Merchandise 2. In the end, the VA discovered that there was enough competitors among the many Tier 1 proposals and, subsequently, the company didn’t contemplate the certified tier 1 proposals. 2 and three. CO at level 6; See additionally RFPs at 53.
On November 21, 2022, the company notified Kizano that his proposal, labeled at stage 3, was not being thought of for the award. Subsequently, Kizano filed a criticism with our workplace.
Kizano alleges that the VA misclassified his proposal by unreasonably failing to think about it beneath Tier 1. The protester disputes the businesses’ willpower that Kizanos’ proposed subcontractor was not an SDVOSB, stating that each Kizano and Alaris Advisors, LLC, they have been SDVOSB verified on the time the Protestant submitted his proposal. He protests on 6-7; Feedback to 4.
The company responds that it accurately labeled Kizano as a Tier 3 Bidder as a result of Kizanos’ subcontractor was not listed as a verified SDVOSB within the VetBiz database, nor was it registered as small in SAM underneath the relevant NAICS code. Memorandum of Legislation (MOL) at 3. In actual fact, the commissioning officer states that they checked these two databases and Alaris Advisors, LLC was not present in both VetBiz or SAM.gov as an lively or inactive report. COS to six. The contracting officer additional explains that he additionally searched underneath the Knowledge Common Numbering System (DUNS) quantity listed in Kizanos’ proposal, however likewise the search returned no outcomes as a result of the DUNS quantity supplied by Kizano was incorrect ; the contracting officer notes that it included an extra determine. id.
Kizano disputes the company’s place, saying the VA has not produced any particular paperwork exhibiting that the alleged database searches have yielded no outcomes. In assist of his claims, Kizano sends Alaris a letter, issued by the Middle for Verification and Analysis (CVE) of VAs CounselorsLLC, slightly than Alaris Counselors as supplied in its proposal on July 9, 2019 stating that Alaris is a verified SDVOSB. resp. to Wealthy. for dismissal, exh. 1, Verification Letter to 1 (emphasis added). In line with the letter, this verification was legitimate for 3 years. id. Kizano argues that Alaris was listed within the VetBiz database as SDVOSB on the time Kizano submitted its bid on February 26, 2021, and that the RFP didn’t require bidders to be SDVOSB verified on the time of award. Feedback to 4-5.
Based mostly on the report right here, we discover that the company acted moderately in not treating Kizanos’ proposal as Tier 1. Whereas Kizano argues that the RFP solely required that bidders and subcontractors be SDVOSB verified on the time of proposal submission, and speculates that the VA ought to have searched the relevant databases a lot later, Kizano fails to say that the CVE verification letter, mentioned above, was issued to a special entity than the one listed in Kizanos’ proposal. The protester by no means addresses this challenge, nor does he clarify why his proposal included an incorrect DUNS quantity and a special title for his subcontractor than the one listed within the CVE letter. Importantly, whereas the VA famous this discrepancy within the company’s report, the protester is unaware of the matter. See MOL to 4; Feedback, usually.
Bidders are accountable for submitting well-written proposals, with adequately detailed data that clearly demonstrates compliance with the solicitation and permits for significant scrutiny by the procuring authority. URS Group, Inc., B-402820, July 30, 2010, 2010 CPD 175 at 3-4. As well as, the solicitation supplied right here [o]Bidders are accountable for together with enough element, in a concise method, to allow an entire and correct analysis of every proposal and that proposals will likely be evaluated strictly in accordance with their written content material. RFP at 46, 53. Based mostly on the proposal submitted by Kizano, we imagine the VA’s conclusion that Kizanos’ subcontractor was not a VetBiz verified SDVOSB and, subsequently, Kizano was not eligible to be thought of a Tier 1 Bidder is flawless.
Particularly, nothing in Kizanos’ proposal moderately indicated that Alaris Advisors, listed within the proposal as a subcontractor of Kizanos, was in reality a verified SDVOSB named Alaris Advisers. Because of this, the company moderately believed that Kizanos’ proposal failed to fulfill the RFP Degree 1 requirement that bidders and their proposed subcontractors be SDVOSB Verified by VetBiz.
The protest is rejected.
Edda Emmanuelli Perez