BNUMBER:  B-270012.4
DATE:  October 3, 1996
TITLE:  Ogden Support Services, Inc.


A protected decision was issued on the date below and was subject to a 
GAO Protective Order.  This version has been redacted or approved by 
the parties involved for public release.
Matter of:Ogden Support Services, Inc.

File:     B-270012.4

Date:October 3, 1996

Ronald K. Henry, Esq., and Mark A. Riordan, Esq., Kaye, Scholer, 
Fierman, Hays & Handler, for the protester.
Dennis J. Riley, Esq, and Joseph G. Billings, Esq., Riley & Artabane, 
P.C., an intervenor.
Diane Florkowski, Esq., Central Intelligence Agency , for the agency.
Charles W. Morrow, Esq., and James A. Spangenberg, Esq., Office of the 
General Counsel, GAO, participated in the preparation of the decision.


Agency had no reasonable basis to give a near perfect score for past 
performance to the proposal of the awardee of a contract for mail 
courier services where the record reflects the awardee had limited 
past performance in this area while the protester's proposal, with 
clearly superior past performance, was given only a slightly higher 


Ogden Support Services, Inc. protests the award of a contract to 
American Systems Corporation (ASC) under request for proposals (RFP) 
No. 95-W001, issued by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Office 
of Information Technology, for mail and courier services.  

We sustain the protest.

This award was the subject of our decision in Ogden Support Servs., 
Inc., B-270012.2, Mar. 19, 1996, 96-1 CPD  para.  177, in which we sustained 
Ogden's protest against the award to ASC on the basis that the high 
evaluation rating of ASC's past performance was unsupported and thus 
the determination that ASC's and Ogden's proposals were technically 
equal, upon which the selection of ASC's lower evaluated cost proposal 
was based, was not justified.  Specifically, we found that the record 
contained insufficient information and analysis justifying ASC's near 
perfect rating for past performance because ASC's proposal reflected 
only limited experience in mail and courier and/or similar 
administrative support services.  
(The RFP called for information from offerors that "demonstrated 
successful performance on similar efforts" and defined"similar 
experience" as "providing support to similar type mail and courier 
efforts and/or administrative support service type efforts.")  We 
recommended that the CIA reevaluate ASC's and Ogden's technical 
proposals in this respect and then determine and document whether they  
in fact were technically equal.[1]  

The CIA did not request reconsideration.  Neither did it obtain 
additional information from the offerors before reevaluating their 
past performance or, if it believed that the description in the RFP of 
experience to be considered in evaluating past performance was too 
narrow, revise the RFP and request revised proposals.  Instead, it 
instructed its same evaluators (who were not provided a copy of our 
decision) to reevaluate proposals, to consider only the existing 
documentation of past performance, and to consider experience on 
contracts for "maintenance, janitorial, and facilities-type services" 
as "similar administrative services."  In accordance with these 
instructions, the evaluators simply confirmed ASC's near perfect score 
for past performance; based on the fact that the point scores did not 
change and that "the TMET [Technical Management Evaluation Team] 
report identified neither distinguishing strengths nor any weaknesses 
related to past performance," the CIA then confirmed the award to ASC 
based on ASC's and Ogden's technically equal proposals and ASC's lower 
evaluated cost. 

We sustain this protest because the CIA's actions here ignore our 
prior decision, the thrust of which was that the record did not 
support ASC's high point score for past performance and the resulting 
conclusion that the competing proposals were essentially equal 
technically.  There is no new information in the record, and no new 
meaningful rationale to support the ASC 's past performance score or 
the ultimate technical equality determination.  The CIA in essence did 
no more than reiterate its earlier conclusions.  As before, we find 
that these conclusions lack a reasonable basis.

As noted by the TMET, the mail and courier service in ASC's referenced 
prior contracts was only peripheral and "unlike that of the effort 
defined in the SOW." Moreover, as stated in our prior decision as well 
as the prior TMET report, only two of ASC's contracts included any 
meaningful mail or courier service; indeed, the prior TMET report 
identified this as one of the two weaknesses in ASC's proposal.  
Furthermore, neither of these contracts was exclusively for mail or 
services--one was an engineering and technical support services 
contract which expressly included mail pickup delivery services and 
the other was for support services in support of a command, control 
and communications system which included the transportation of 
classified documents between various locations.  The other four 
referenced contracts considered by the evaluators as providing 
"similar experience" did not include any significant mail or courier 
services.  One involved the installation of computer hardware, where 
presumably the hardware and documentation was delivered to job-sites; 
a second was for maintenance of classified electronic equipment, with 
no indication that mail courier services were involved; a third was 
for the installation of cable, which involved the delivery of material 
to different locations; and the fourth was to acquire and integrate 
electronic equipment, which included the shipment of classified 
equipment.  Furthermore, we question whether these latter four 
contracts can even be considered "maintenance, janitorial and 
facilities-type services" under the CIA's relaxed definition of 
"similar experience."

The CIA does not explain why positive experience in "maintenance, 
janitorial, and facilities-type services" or other services that only 
peripherally involve mail or courier service, such as the contracts 
performed by ASC, justifies an excellent rating for past performance, 
and nothing in the record indicates how ASC's past performance on such 
contracts could justify such a rating.[2]  In this regard, since the 
RFP indicated that proposals would be qualitatively evaluated, it 
follows that a proposal reflecting more relevant successful past 
performance should be rated higher than a proposal reflecting clearly 
less relevant past performance.  See Fidelity Technologies Corp., 
B-258944, Feb. 22, 1995, 95-1 CPD  para.  112.  Ogden's referenced contracts 
were for highly relevant mail and courier services, for which it 
received a perfect score for past performance.  Had ASC's past 
performance been reasonably evaluated in accordance with the RFP, in 
light of its significantly more limited, albeit successful, experience 
it should not have received anything close to a near perfect score.  
Awarding ASC a near perfect score for past performance effectively 
removed the evaluation weight assigned the past performance criterion.  
See Trijicon, Inc., 71 Comp. Gen.  41 (1991), 91-2 CPD  para.  375.

We further note that under the agency's source selection plan, an 
"excellent" score should be awarded a proposal for:

     "a comprehensive and thorough presentation of exceptional merit 
     with one or more identified major strengths.  There are all 
     strong points and no weaknesses or deficiencies identified." 

The record indicates no "identified major strengths" that would 
support such a rating for ASC's past performance. 

In sum, the record still does not reasonably support ASC's past 
performance score; therefore, the CIA did not have a proper basis upon 
which to conclude that Ogden's and ASC's proposals were technically 
equal overall. 

We again recommend that the CIA properly evaluate ASC's past 
performance and then determine whether ASC's and Ogden's proposals 
are, in fact, technically equal or whether Ogden's proposal is 
actually technically superior as is suggested by the record.  We 
further recommend that the contract awarded to ASC be terminated for 
convenience and award made to Ogden unless the CIA can reasonably 
determine, in accordance with this decision, that the proposals are 
technically equal or that any superiority in Ogden's proposal does not 
offset ASC's cost advantage.[3]  If this determination cannot be made, 
inasmuch as the first year of contract performance  almost has been 
completed, we recommend that Ogden be reimbursed its proposal 
preparation costs.  4 C.F.R.  sec.  21.8(d)(2) (1996).  Alternatively, if 
the agency finds that the RFP defined "similar experience" too 
narrowly, it may amend the RFP accordingly, obtain revised proposals, 
and make award as appropriate.  In any case, we recommend that the 
protester be reimbursed its costs of filing and pursuing the protest, 
including reasonable attorneys' fees.  4 C.F.R.  sec.  21.8(d)(1).  The 
protester should submit its certified claim for costs to the 
contracting agency within 90 days of receiving this decision.  4 
C.F.R.  sec.  21.8(f)(1). 

The protest is sustained.

Comptroller General
of the United States

1. In our decision, we found the other issues raised by the protester 
relating to the technical evaluation and conduct of discussions to be 
without merit.  Thus, to the extent Ogden again raises these issues 
they will not be considered.  See Ogden Support Servs., Inc., 
B-270012.3, Apr. 24, 1996, 96-1 CPD  para.  291.

2. As stated in our prior decision, ASC's near perfect past 
performance rating could not reasonably be justified "without 
additional information and analysis" in the record; there is no 
further information or analysis presented here.  

3. As indicated in our prior decision, the agency should properly 
calculate the amount of ASC's cost advantage since the record contains 
no documents that reflect ASC's actual advantage.