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Contract Appeals Board Opinion: Synergistic Inc.

Contract Appeals Board Opinion: Synergistic Inc.

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Published by WAMU885news
D.C. Contract Appeals Board opinion canceling the youth employment training contract of Synergistic Inc., issued Feb. 15, 2012.
D.C. Contract Appeals Board opinion canceling the youth employment training contract of Synergistic Inc., issued Feb. 15, 2012.

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Published by: WAMU885news on Feb 22, 2012
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02/22/2012

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIACONTRACT APPEALS BOARD
PROTEST OF:)Urban Alliance Foundation)CAB Nos.: P-0886, P-0887,Voices of Our Sisters)P-0890, P-0891,Progressive Educational Experiences in Cooperative Cultures)P-0892Higher Development Academy)(Consolidated)Jobs for Americas Graduates))Solicitation No. DCCF-2011-R-3963-SDA 2)Forthe protester Urban Alliance: James P. Gallatin, Jr., Lawrence S. Sher, Gregory S. Jacobs, Joelle E.K.Laszlo, Melissa E. Beras and Stacy C. Forbes, Reed Smith LLP. For the protester Voices of Our Sisters:Kenya Welch,
 pro se
. For the protester Progressive Educational Experience in Cooperative Cultures: SaraStone,
 pro se
. For the protester Higher Development Academy: Deborah Hayman,
 pro se
. For the protester Jobs for America’s Graduates: Lawrence P. Block, Dennis Lane, and Thorn Pozen, StinsonMorrisonHecker LLP. For the District of Columbia Government: Talia Sassoon Cohen, AssistantAttorney General, Office of the Attorney General.Opinion by Administrative Judge Maxine E. McBean with Chief Administrative Judge Marc D. Loud,Sr.,(concurringwith separate opinion) and Administrative Judge Monica C. Parchment concurring.
OPINION
 Filing ID42527096 
Urban Alliance Foundation (“Urban Alliance”) has filed a protest challenging its removal fromthe competitive range under a solicitation seeking a contractor to design and implement an in-schoolyouth workforce development program to support between 250-500 at-risk youths. (ARatEx.1,§B.1.)Subsequent to the District’s award of the contract to Synergistic, Inc. (“Synergistic”), four other offerors,Voices of Our Sisters (“VOOS”), Progressive Educational Experience in Cooperative Cultures(“PEECC”), Higher Development Academy (“HDA”), and Jobs for America’s Graduates (“JAG”) filed protests with this Board raising additional protest grounds. On September 2, 2011, the Board issued anorder consolidating the protests. The protesters’ challengesgenerally concern(a) irregularities with andcancellation of a procurement process beginning in September2010, (b) the District’s failure to evaluatethe proposals in accordance with the law and the terms of the solicitation, and (c) non-responsibility of theawardee, Synergistic. On September 23, 2011, the District filed a motion to dismiss all protests as either untimely or for lack of standing.We find the protests timely and that the protesters have standing. Further, the Board finds thatthe District’s Office of Contracting and Procurement (“OCP”) failed to follow proper procedures inevaluating the proposals. This failure was pervasive and extensive so as to render the final awarddecision arbitrary and capricious. Following are fourareas where OCP acted inconsistently interms othe solicitation andin violation of procurement law: (A) failure to disclose mandatory minimumrequirements, (B) failure to adequately document, (C) failure to evaluate reasonably,and(D)failure toconduct a blind evaluation. Taken together, thesefindingsconstitute sufficient basis for sustaining the
 
Urban Alliance Foundation, et al. P-0886, P-0887, P-0890 P-0891, P-0892
-2-
 present protest thus theBoard finds it unnecessary to addressthe responsibility of the awardee at thistime.However the irregularities of the evaluation process are sufficiently materialso as to warranttermination of the current contracteffective no later than the closeofthe current school year in June2012.To the extent that theseservices are required by the District for thesummerschoolsession of 2012and beyond, the District shall issue a request to the twenty-three offerors for revised technical and cost proposals for the remainder of the base year and theoption years. The District shallevaluate the revised proposalsin accordance with the law and the terms of the RFP.These consolidated protests aresustained.
BACKGROUND
On April 1, 2011, OCP issued a Request for Proposals for Solicitation No. DCCF-2011-R-3963-SDA 2 (“RFP”) for a contractor to design and implement a quality, year-round educational program tosupport between 250-500 at-risk youths.
1
(AR at Ex. 1.) Per the RFP, the District intended to issue acontract consisting of a base year with four additional option years. (AR at Ex 1, §§ F.1-F.2.4.) The RFPwas revised six times prior to the deadline for receipt of proposals on June 8, 2011. (Mot. to Dismiss 3.)The revisions are as follows: (i) on April 14, 2011, the due date was changed from April 22, 2011, to May4, 2011; (AR at Ex. 2) (ii) on April 26, 2011, (Amendment 0001), the due date was extended to May 13,2011; (
id.
) (iii) on May 9, 2011 (Amendment 0002), the due date was extended to May27, 2011; (
id.
) (iv)on May 18, 2011 (Amendment 0003), the RFP was replaced in its entirety and the due date was extendedto May 31, 2011; (
id.
) (v) on May 26, 2011 (Amendment 0004), technical amendments were made tocertain sections of the RFP and the due date was extended to June 6, 2011;(
id.
) and (vi) the due date wasextended for the final time, via E-Sourcing message board, to June 8, 2011, (
id.
).
Terms of the Solicitation
Under the Revised RFP, the District of Columbia was divided into two Service Delivery Areas(“SDAs”):SDA 1: Wards 1, 2, 3, and 4SDA 2: Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8(AR at Ex. 1, § B.3.1.)The RFP stated: “It is the intent of the District to award at least one contract for each of theSDAs. The District will award additional contracts based upon program needs and availability of funds.”
2
(
 Id.
) Potential offerors were to submit proposals to design and implement a year-round in-school youth program to provide services promoting academic achievement, successful graduation,awareness of and readiness for post-secondary education, career preparation, and connections toemployment. (AR at Ex. 1, § C.1.)The RFPfurther stated that the District would award a contract to the responsible offeror(s)whose offer(s)is most advantageousto the District (AR at Ex. 1, § M.1.1)based upon the followingtechnical evaluation criteria: (1) Price Criterion, 10 points; (2) Technical Approach, 50 points, (3)Technical Expertise, 30 points, (4) Past Performance, 10 points. (AR at Ex. 1, §§ M.3.3.1 –M.3.3.4.)Theevaluation criteria also allowed an additional 10 technical bonus points for in kind/cash match resourcesand 12 points for CBE preference, providing for a maximum 122 total points. (AR at Ex. 1, §§ M.3.4.1,M.3.4.2, M.5.)
1
This solicitation follows an earlier solicitation issued in September 2010 for the same services. (
See, e.g.
, UrbanAllianceProtest 3, Aug. 10, 2011.)
2
Allprotesters in this matter are challenging only the award for SDA 2.
 
Urban Alliance Foundation, et al. P-0886, P-0887, P-0890 P-0891, P-0892
-3-
Ratings were to be assigned for each factor according to the scale below: Numeric RatingAdjectiveDescription0UnacceptableFails to meet minimum requirements; e.g., no demonstrated capacity,major deficiencies which are not correctable; offeror did not addressthe factor.1PoorMarginally meets minimum requirements; major deficiencies whichmay be correctable.2MinimallyAcceptableMarginally meets minimum requirements; minor deficiencies whichmay be correctable.3AcceptableMeets requirement; no deficiencies.4GoodMeets requirements and exceeds some requirements; no deficiencies.5ExcellentExceeds most, if not all requirements; no deficiencies.(AR at Ex. 1, § M.2.)According to the Procurement Chronology prepared by Contract Specialist, Crystal Farmer-Linder, the minimum solicitation requirements were contained in Sections B.3 (B.3.1, B.3.2, B.3.3),C.5.2, and C.5.2.1. (AR at Ex. 2.)These sections provided:§ B.3
SERVICE DELIVERY AREAS
§ B.3.1For the purpose of this RFP and the ensuing contracts theDistrict will be divided into two Service Delivery Areas (SDAs);SDA District 1: Wards 1, 2, 3, and 4.SDA District 2: Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8.It is the intent of the District to award at least one contractfor each of the SDAs. The District will award additional contracts based upon program needs and availability of funds.§ B.3.2 In order for an Offeror to be awarded a contract, the Offeror must serve the entire SDA and the Offeror must operate programming at a location within the SDA. The Offeror is notlimited to serving only youth who reside within that SDA andthe District reserves the right to refer eligible youth to anyOfferor awarded a contract who has capacity at the time.§ B.3.3If an Offeror submits proposals for both SDAs, and, if theOfferor is awarded a contract for each SDA, each contract shallstand alone. The awarded Offeror shall not co-mingle funds,

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