BNUMBER:  B-270354.2 


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-270354.2

Date:October 29, 1996

Ronald K. Henry, Esq., and Mark A. Riordan, Esq., Kaye, Scholer, 
Fierman, Hays & Handler, for the protester.
Joel Feidelman, Esq., James J. McCullough, Esq., and Catherine E. 
Pollack, Esq., Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, for SSI 
Services, Inc., the intervenor.
Lisa Miller, Esq., Central Intelligence Agency, for the agency.
Henry J. Gorczycki, Esq., and James A. Spangenberg, Esq., Office of 
the General Counsel, GAO, participated in the preparation of the 


Protest that proposal was misevaluated is denied where the record 
shows that the evaluated weaknesses were reasonable and consistent 
with the evaluation factors.


Ogden Support Services, Inc. protests the award of a contract to SSI 
Services, Inc. under request for proposals (RFP) No. 95-Z06, issued by 
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for operations and maintenance 
services at the CIA Headquarters Compound, Langley, Virginia, and at 
13 facilities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  Ogden 
contends that the evaluations and source selection decision were 

We deny the protest in part and dismiss it in part.

The agency previously awarded a contract to SSI under this RFP.  
Ogden, the incumbent contractor, protested the award on a number of 
grounds.  Our Office sustained that protest in Ogden Support Servs., 
Inc., B-270354, Feb. 28, 1996, 96-1 CPD  para.  175, on the basis that the 
CIA failed to conduct meaningful discussions.  Our decision also noted 
other problems with the procurement:  the RFP did not disclose the 
relative evaluation weight of cost, and the evaluation documentation 
did not support the technical ratings.  We recommended that the agency 
amend the solicitation, reopen discussions with the competitive range 
offerors, request revised best and final offers (BAFO), and make a new 
source selection decision based upon the evaluation of the revised 

The CIA subsequently amended the RFP.  The amended RFP contemplated 
the award of a cost-plus-award-fee, level-of-effort contract for 1 
year with 4 option years.  The RFP stated a best value basis for award 
with all non-cost evaluation factors combined being significantly more 
important than cost.  The non-cost evaluation factors were 
technical/management, experience/past performance, and security.  
Security was to be evaluated on a pass/fail basis and 
technical/management was three times more important than 
experience/past performance.  The technical/management factor 
contained the following subfactors listed in descending order of 
importance:  (1) staffing plan; (2) contract phase-in plan; (3) 
logistics management plan; (4) training plan; (5) quality control 
plan; and (6) health, safety and environmental plan.  The 
experience/past performance factor contained the following subfactors:  
(1) company experience and (2) record of past performance.  The RFP 
also identified a number of sub-subfactors under each subfactor.  

On March 25, 1996, the agency reopened discussions with the four 
competitive range offerors.  Written discussion questions were sent to 
each offeror addressing the weaknesses, deficiencies, and concerns 
which the agency had determined to exist in the proposals upon which 
the prior source selection was based, and offerors were invited to 
submit questions concerning the RFP or the written discussion 
questions.  All the offerors submitted questions, to which the CIA 
responded in writing.  The CIA then requested submission of best and 
final offers (BAFO) by May 6.  BAFOs were to be complete proposals and 
not just a statement of revisions to the terms of the previously 
submitted proposals.  Offerors were advised that CIA intended to 
evaluate BAFOs and make award without further discussions unless the 
contracting officer determined that further discussions were 

All four offerors (Ogden, SSI, [DELETED], and [DELETED] submitted 
revised BAFOs.  The results of the evaluations with weighted 
evaluation scores appear below:[1]

Offeror     Technical (750)Experience (250)Total
                                    (1,000)     Cost

SSI         675         200         875         92,928,753

[DELETED]   630         180         810         94,070,289

[DELETED]   510         200         710         83,310,320

Ogden       488         180         668         88,051,242
The Source Selection Authority (SSA) determined that SSI had submitted 
the highest rated proposal representing the best value to the 
government, considering both cost and non-cost factors.  In this 
regard, the SSA found that SSI "clearly . . . submitted the most 
technical superior" BAFO; that SSI's higher cost was attributable to 
its proposed staffing approach with [DELETED]; and that SSI's proposed 
technical approach reflected substantial added value for the evaluated 

With respect to Ogden's proposal, the SSA determined:

     "[Ogden's] lower cost is centered in [DELETED].  This approach 
     provides less service and a higher degree of risk to critical 
     operations.  I believe that the potential cost savings are not 
     sufficient to justify awarding to a lower rated technical 
     approach.  Ogden's technical rating is lower than [DELETED] and 
     the proposed cost is higher than [DELETED].  Therefore, the Ogden 
     proposal is rated fourth."

The SSA had similar concerns about [DELETED]'s proposal and determined 
that even at the lowest proposed and evaluated cost, the potential 
cost savings were not sufficient to justify selecting this offeror's 
lower-rated technical approach over the superior approach of SSI.  On 
July 18, CIA awarded the contract to SSI.  This protest followed with 
allegations concerning the evaluation of both Ogden's and SSI's 
proposals and a contention that meaningful discussions were not 

The evaluation of proposals is primarily a matter within the 
contracting agency's discretion, since it is responsible for defining 
its needs and for deciding on the best methods of accommodating them.  
Smith Bright Assocs., B-240317, Nov. 9, 1990, 90-2 CPD  para.  382.  In 
reviewing protests of agency evaluations, our Office will not question 
an agency's evaluation unless the record shows that it is unreasonable 
or inconsistent with the RFP's evaluation criteria.  Cubic Defense 
Sys., Inc. and Metric Sys. Corp., B-248649.2; B-248649.3, Sept. 25, 
1992, 92-2 CPD  para.  205.  The protester bears the burden of proving that 
an evaluation is unreasonable; mere disagreement with the agency does 
not render the evaluation unreasonable.  ESCO, Inc., 66 Comp. Gen. 404 
(1987), 87-1 CPD  para.  450.  Ogden has not met its burden here.

Ogden makes numerous allegations of unreasonable or improper 
assessments of specific aspects of its proposal.  These include 
allegations that the agency unreasonably evaluated as proposal 
weaknesses the qualifications of specific personnel, the trade 
staffing skill mix, the contract phase-in plan, the logistics 
management plan, the training plan, and the record of Ogden's past 
performance.  Ogden also asserts that the evaluation of its proposal 
was unreasonable because, as the incumbent contractor with an 
excellent record of award fee performance, its proposal should not 
receive lower scores than those of other offerors.  While we do not 
discuss herein all of Ogden's allegations, we have reviewed them all 
and, as illustrated by the following examples, find that the record 
(with one immaterial exception)[2] supports the agency's technical 
evaluation of Ogden's proposal.

For example, Ogden alleges that the CIA unreasonably determined that 
the person Ogden proposed for the position of MIS System Administrator 
had limited applicable experience in operation/administration of a 
MAXIMO/LAN[3] system.  Ogden's BAFO stated the responsibilities of the 
system administrator position and that the person proposed for this 

     "has three years' experience using MAXIMO and has completed 
     training courses in Arcserve Ver.5x, MAXIMO Report Writer School, 
     MAXIMO Series 5 System Administrator School, MAXIMO Series 5 
     Basic Training, PC Support Specialist MAXIMO Series 3 Basic 

Since Ogden's BAFO did not list any actual system administration 
experience for this person, the CIA could reasonably find this 
person's relevant experience was limited in this respect.  While Ogden 
contends that the CIA could not expect all experience of this 
individual to be described in the proposal, the RFP stated under the 
most important evaluation subfactor--staffing plan--that "years of 
experience for key personnel" would be evaluated and the record shows 
that the CIA informed Ogden during discussions that the agency 
considered this position to be key:

     "Provide updated resumes for all on-site key personnel including, 
     but not limited to . . . MIS Administrator and staff, if any."[4]

In sum, the agency reasonably determined that this person lacked 
experience relevant to the position of MIS system administrator, and 
the evaluation of this as a weakness was consistent with the staffing 
plan subfactor.

A second example concerns the evaluation under the second most 
important technical evaluation subfactor--contract phase-in plan.  CIA 
found as a weakness that Ogden's "major restructuring of trade skill 
mix [was] not documented in [the] transition plan."  The protester 
essentially alleges that, as the incumbent, all of its personnel were 
already on board, so no delays in hiring personnel would occur.  Thus, 
Ogden asserts that the weakness did not exist and, moreover, it was 
not given credit for the fact that its proposal would not have hiring 

Under this subfactor, the RFP identified two evaluation 
sub-subfactors--staff hiring plan and transition plan.  The agency 
evaluated the weakness as existing in the transition plan, not in the 
hiring plan.  In its evaluation of the hiring plan, the agency 
specifically noted as proposal strengths Ogden's retention of current 
staff, the continuity of Ogden's service, and Ogden's brief hiring 
period.  Thus, the agency did credit Ogden's proposal for not having 
hiring delays.  However, quite apart from hiring new personnel, Ogden 
proposed to reorganize its trade staffing patterns such that 
[DELETED].  Ogden's proposed phase-in plan did not provide details 
about the transition of this restructured skill mix and its impact on 
performance upon the contract start.  Thus, the CIA could reasonably 
find that this was a weakness in Ogden's transition plan.  

Ogden contends that the agency improperly double or triple counted 
specific weaknesses under more than one evaluation subfactor.  It is 
improper for an agency to exaggerate the stated importance of any one 
evaluation criterion by considering an element of that criterion under 
one or more other evaluation criteria.  See J.A. Jones Management 
Servs., Inc., B-254941.2, Mar. 16, 1994, 94-1 CPD  para.  244.  However, an 
agency is not precluded from considering an element, such as an 
offeror's experience, under more than one evaluation criteria where 
the element is relevant and reasonably related to each criterion under 
which it is considered.  Teledyne Brown Eng'g, B-258078; B-258078.2, 
Dec. 6, 1994, 94-2 CPD  para.  223.  Here, the alleged examples of double or 
triple counting were not improper because the agency legitimately 
considered elements which were relevant and reasonably related to the 
various evaluation subfactors under which they were considered.

For instance, Ogden alleges that the CIA evaluated the experience and 
education of its proposed Quality Control, Safety and Environmental 
Manager as a weakness under the staffing plan, the quality control 
plan, and the health, safety and environmental plan subfactors, thus 
improperly triple counting the weakness.  Ogden's proposal designated 
as a key personnel one manager responsible for the duties under both 
the quality control area and the health, safety and environmental 
area, and the CIA considered this individual's experience under three 
subfactors.  The applicable sub-subfactors stated for these subfactors 

     "Years of experience for key personnel and completeness of 
     resumes" (staffing plan),

     "Staff dedicated to quality assurance" (quality control plan),

     "Procedures for health, safety and environmental compliance 
     reporting and inspections" (health, safety and environmental 

Thus, the RFP provided that the experience of key personnel would be 
evaluated under the staffing plan subfactor and that the staff 
dedicated to quality assurance would be evaluated under the quality 
control plan subfactor.  In addition, inasmuch as Ogden's proposed 
health, safety and environment plan specifically stated that this 
manager [DELETED] it was apparent that this individual was integral to 
Ogden's procedures for health, safety and environmental compliance 
reporting and inspections, which the RFP stated would be evaluated 
under the health, safety and environmental plan subfactor.  Thus, the 
evaluation of the proposed manager's experience under each subfactor 
was legitimately related to that subfactor and did not constitute 
improper multiple counting of an evaluation criterion.  See id.

Ogden contends that the overall scoring of its BAFO was unreasonable 
because, although the CIA told Ogden during a debriefing that its BAFO 
had improved to some degree over its prior proposal, its score 
allegedly decreased rather than increased.  We find no merit to this 
argument.  The allegation is based on Ogden's computation and 
comparison of the mathematical average of the evaluators' scores of 
its prior proposal and its BAFO.  However, the agency did not use 
average scores; the evaluators met as a group to discuss their 
individual ratings and arrived at a consensus score.[5]  Ogden's 
consensus score increased from 593 for its prior proposal, to the 
present score of  668 for its BAFO.  Thus, we see no merit to this 

Ogden also alleges that the CIA used "risk" as an unstated evaluation 
factor, citing the SSA's statements that Ogden's proposed approach 
presented higher risks than SSI's proposed approach.  However, an 
agency is not precluded from considering any proposal risk arising 
from an offeror's approach or demonstrated lack of understanding that 
is intrinsic to the stated evaluation factors.  4th Dimension 
Software, Inc.; Computer Assocs. Int'l, Inc., B-251936; B-251936.2, 
May 13, 1993, 93-1 CPD  para.  420.  Here, the SSA specifically stated that 
the risk in Ogden's proposal involved "critical operations" and arose 
from [DELETED].  Thus, the SSA's assessed the risk in Ogden's proposal 
arising from the offerors staffing approach.  Since staffing plan was 
the most important subfactor under the most important 
factor--technical/management-- consideration of risk here was 
intrinsic to the stated evaluation factors and was thus proper.

Ogden also alleges that the CIA did not conduct meaningful discussions 
consistent with the recommendation in our prior decision.  We 
disagree.  In the previously protested selection process, the CIA had 
compiled an extensive list of weaknesses and deficiencies for each 
proposal, but failed to identify almost all of these items during 
discussions; we found that these discussions were inadequate.  In 
response to our recommendation, the CIA reopened discussions and 
provided each offeror a detailed set of questions identifying the 
evaluated weaknesses and deficiencies it had previously documented.  
Since the discussions identified all significant weaknesses and 
deficiencies in the proposals, they were clearly meaningful.[6]  To 
the extent Ogden alleges that the agency should have reopened 
discussions because of the evaluated weaknesses in its BAFO, we note 
that the RFP announced that no further discussions were contemplated 
after the submission of BAFOs and that an agency need not reopen 
discussions to resolve technical deficiencies first introduced in an 
offeror's BAFO.  IPEC Advanced Sys., B-232145, Oct. 20, 1988, 88-2 CPD  para.  

Ogden also protests the evaluation of SSI's proposal.  However, Ogden 
is not an interested party for the purpose of protesting the 
evaluation of SSI's proposal as there is an intervening offeror with a 
higher technical rating and a lower cost (i.e., [DELETED] in line for 
award ahead of Ogden.  Our Bid Protest Regulations, 4 C.F.R.  sec.  
21.1(a) and 21.0(a) (1996), require a protester to be an actual or 
prospective bidder or offeror whose direct economic interest would be 
affected by the award of a contract or the failure to award a 
contract.  Determining whether a party is interested involves 
consideration of a variety of factors, including the nature of issues 
raised, the benefit of relief sought by the protester, and the party's 
status in relation to the procurement.  Black Hills Refuse Serv., 67 
Comp. Gen. 261 (1988), 88-1 CPD  para.  151.  A protester is not an 
interested party where it would not be in line for contract award were 
its protest to be sustained.  ECS Composites, Inc., B-235849.2, Jan. 
3, 1990, 90-1 CPD  para.  7.  Ogden has not challenged the technical 
evaluation of [DELETED]'s higher-rated, lower cost BAFO; to the 
contrary, Ogden's protest frequently referenced [DELETED]'s BAFO as 
technically similar to Ogden's in order to lend credence to Ogden's 
assertion that its proposed approach was technically sound.  Ogden is 
thus not an interested party for the purposes of protesting issues 
concerning the evaluation and selection of SSI's proposal, and we 
therefore dismiss the remainder of Ogden's protest.  See Amcare 
Medical Servs., Inc., B-271595, July 11, 1996, 96-2 CPD  para.  10.

The protest is denied in part and dismissed in part.

Comptroller General
of the United States

1. All four proposals passed under the security factor.  

2. We found one immaterial instance of unreasonable evaluation with 
respect to Ogden's past performance under a contract with the General 
Accounting Office (GAO).  Although the evaluators noted as a weakness 
Ogden's failure to provide past performance data for the GAO contract, 
the record shows that Ogden's BAFO provided a detailed description of 
its performance under that contract.  However, even if Ogden's 
proposal received the 20 additional points for this subfactor that 
Ogden states that it lost because of this misevaluation (or even the 
maximum possible score for this subfactor--an additional 40 points), 
its score would still be the lowest technical score given the four 

3. MAXIMO is an integrated facilities management software package used 
by the agency.  LAN means local area network.

4. Ogden unpersuasively contends that, since the offeror determines 
who its key personnel are, this discussion question only advised it to 
submit a resume if it proposed the system administrator as a key 
personnel, which Ogden did not do.  We think the question clearly 
indicated that the agency considered this on-site personnel position 
to be a key personnel position, for which a resume was expected to be 

5. As subjective judgments of individual evaluator's may vary greatly, 
there is nothing improper with this method of consensus scoring.  See 
Syscon Servs., Inc., 68 Comp. Gen. 698 (1989), 89-2 CPD  para.  258.  

6. We find no merit to Ogden's allegations of misleading discussions.