A recent decision by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) made it clear that ordered items only need to be included on an awardee’s Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract at the time the order is issued, and not at an earlier date. On October 2, 2015 GAO denied a protest by AmeriGuard Security Services, Inc. over the issuance of a task order by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to Paragon Systems, Inc. for guard services at multiple HHS facilities. AmeriGuard’s protest asserted that Paragon’s quotation was unacceptable because not all of the services quoted were on Paragon’s FSS contract at the time of bid submission.
HHS initially decided to award the order to Paragon based on a “best-value” evaluation, which took into account factors such as technical capability, technical approach, management approach, past performance, and price. The closing date for initial quotations was March 19, 2015, and then HHS requested revised quotations to be submitted by April 15. The agency issued the task order to Paragon on April 30, and AmeriGuard filed a timely protest alleging that not all of the services quoted were on Paragon’s FSS schedule contract by the time required. The agency advised GAO that it was taking corrective action, noting that it would verify Paragon’s eligibility for award using documentation obtained directly from GSA to confirm that Paragon had prices for all job classifications and locations by the required time. The agency proceeded to reaffirm the award to Paragon. AmeriGuard protested the reaffirmed award.
In its second protest, AmeriGuard asserted that a vendor must have prices for all job classifications and locations on its FSS contract by the closing date of the RFQ (here, by March 19). Therefore, according to AmeriGuard, Paragon’s requests to modify its FSS schedule contract on March 19 and April 21 (after both bids were submitted) should be ignored since both came after the March 19 closing date for initial quotations. HHS, on the other hand, maintained that the order was proper because Paragon’s schedule contract had been modified to include the additional items by April 30, the date of the order. GAO agreed with HHS, denying the protest and making it clear that all items ordered need only be on the vendor’s FSS contract at the time the order is issued, and not before.