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Letting Proposals Expire after 60 days

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The Agency has not provided any feedback on a proposal I sent in 55 days ago.

At 30 days and 45 days, I sent emails to request confirmation that my offer was still under consideration, and the replies were limited to "proposals are still being evaluated."

What benefit does an Agency get from simply letting bids expire ?

Would an Agency ask to have some offers extended and not others, even if no competitive range or evaluation was done ?

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The Agency has not provided any feedback on a proposal I sent in 55 days ago.

At 30 days and 45 days, I sent emails to request confirmation that my offer was still under consideration, and the replies were limited to "proposals are still being evaluated."

What benefit does an Agency get from simply letting bids expire ?

Would an Agency ask to have some offers extended and not others, even if no competitive range or evaluation was done ?

An agency should not ask to have some offers extended and not others, unless a competitive range determination has been made. If a competitive range determination has not been made, and offers are about to expire, they should ask all offerors to extend the validity of their offers.

I can think of no "benefit" of simply letting bids expire. I can imagine, though, that someone who is about to determine a competitive range and initiate discussions may not worry about bid expiration, since there will be a request for final proposal revisions, which will entail a new, extended validity period.

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Guest Vern Edwards
An agency should not ask to have some offers extended and not others, unless a competitive range determination has been made. If a competitive range determination has not been made, and offers are about to expire, they should ask all offerors to extend the validity of their offers.

I disagree. The agency may have preliminarily evaluated proposals and determined one or more to be technically unacceptable and thus ineligible for award. The agency may still be evaluating the remaining proposals and planning to award without discussions, and may want the offerors that submitted those proposals to extend the period of acceptance pending the results. In such a circumstance there is no need for a competitive range determination and no need to ask all offerors to extend their acceptance periods.

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I disagree. The agency may have preliminarily evaluated proposals and determined one or more to be technically unacceptable and thus ineligible for award. The agency may still be evaluating the remaining proposals and planning to award without discussions, and may want the offerors that submitted those proposals to extend the period of acceptance pending the results. In such a circumstance there is no need for a competitive range determination and no need to ask all offerors to extend their acceptance periods.

You are, of course, correct, but in that circumstance, I would recommend a concurrent notification to the unacceptable offeror(s), in accordance with FAR 15.503(a)(1) -- "The contracting officer shall notify offerors promptly in writing when their proposals are . . . eliminated from the competition." The companies thus eliminated should not be left hanging to wonder what's going on.

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Guest Vern Edwards

Of course. The CO should comply with the regulation and promptly notify any offeror that has been eliminated.

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thnx for the responses.

With bids expiring tomorrow, I finally got the CO on the phone today.

First, he asked if I was sure that bids were only good for 60 days. He thought he had 120 days.

I referred him to Block 12 of the SF 33. The RFP does not contain 52.214-16, minimum bid acceptance period, or anything like it.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that this deadline is up to the offeror, not the Agency, and some bidders could set a deadline of less than 60 days.

Then he reassured me that expiration of bids was just a formality. When his technical people get back in touch with him, he will then ask offrors to extend their bids, even if it's well after the 60 days have run out.

In a way, he's exactly right.

While letting bids expire means that offerors are no longer obliged to enter into a contract, this is such an interesting project that I don't imagine anyone who submitted a proposal would then want to decline an award, even if it comes 2 or 3 months later.

I suppose I could revise my proposal, maybe raising or lowering prices, and modifying the technical approach, but with no feedback whatsoever, I wouldn't know what to update.

My technical aproach includes a glaring factual error in the background section explaining why I took the approach I did. Too late to pull that back. Where is that "unsend email" button, anyway ?

But even fixing that error, I wouldn't change the approach where that error was concerned.

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Proposal seems to take a lot longer these days. I have two large proposal that I submitted late 2011 and early 2012 and they both expired. Then all of the bidders were notified to request extension their pricing for 120; the 120 days would pass then they request another 120 days, etc. etc.and they still have no "expected date" for a decision on award.

This is frustrating for all parties involved:

  • The incumbent is constantly getting their contracts extended but no guarantee the rate will increase during each extended POP..
  • The contractors bidding were required to submit multiple Key Personnel resumes but it's very unlikely that those same people are sitting around waiting for a job a year+.
  • Managing B&P budgets and sales goals are impacted.
  • The Government employees receiving the services on expired/bridged contracts notice a huge decline in productivity.
  • The biggest problem - The contractor employees are on pins and needles each month wondering if the contract will end and will they get picked up the new contractor. It creates a very unattractive working environment. Many of these employees will find new places to work and replacing employees on an expiring contract doesn't attract the best candidates. This usually results in the awarded contractor getting staff that is loosely qualified and start up can take longer than expected.

Grrr.

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FAR Fetched,

you definitely have it worse than me.

In my case, the Agency, it looked to me, was expecting a bid in the range of $500K, with 3 people doing all the work.

My analysis, it was about double that. So I think my price was way higher than they expected, and I wouldn't have been surprised to have been told that I was out of the competitive range.

I have a son who hates his job, and I was going to put him in charge of this. He can stay where he is for now.

So I'm not suffering.

But I suspect that there were only two bids, a fella who recently retired from the Agency, who they plan to give the work to, and me.

I think, when they saw my approach, they shared some of my stuff with him, and all this time that I've heard nothing, the other guy was being given the chance to change his approach, if he wanted to, incorporating stuff that I anticipated, but that he didn't anticipate when he wrote the PWS before retiring. I expect an award to him at about 5% below my price.

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FAR Fetched,

you definitely have it worse than me.

In my case, the Agency, it looked to me, was expecting a bid in the range of $500K, with 3 people doing all the work.

My analysis, it was about double that. So I think my price was way higher than they expected, and I wouldn't have been surprised to have been told that I was out of the competitive range.

I have a son who hates his job, and I was going to put him in charge of this. He can stay where he is for now.

So I'm not suffering.

But I suspect that there were only two bids, a fella who recently retired from the Agency, who they plan to give the work to, and me.

I think, when they saw my approach, they shared some of my stuff with him, and all this time that I've heard nothing, the other guy was being given the chance to change his approach, if he wanted to, incorporating stuff that I anticipated, but that he didn't anticipate when he wrote the PWS before retiring. I expect an award to him at about 5% below my price.

If you truly have evidence that your competitor was an employee of the organization that solicited the subject requirement, and that he was involved with writing the PWS in any way, then you should be getting your attorney spun up for a protest NOW. That is unless you really don't want to do this work, then let the poor shmuck who is by your account breaking the rules, get the contract.

I have on a few occasions heard PM folks make offhand comments about retiring, starting a business that will compete for a a program they are working on. I have done my best to remind them of the ethical prohibition from doing that, reminding them that I will be looking for just such instances when I am working on solicitations and awards.

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Vecchia,

I once bid on a job advertised by the VCSA's Rapid Equipping Force. If you don't know their reputation, OK.

So, anyways, I contacted a potential supplier after bids closed, and he wonders why I'm bothering with supplier quotes, since the bid acceptance period is over. Well, I told him, I bid using mostly WAG estimates.

So he sez to me, would I be interested in teaming with someone who really, really knows this requirement ?

Sure, I reply.

An hour later, the incumbent calls me.

He gripes that his bid was rejected for being 20 minutes late.

(In my personal experience, barely late RFP submissions tend to get accepted, unless there's some bad blood. Excuses can be made.)

Turns out, he was the REF Project Manager for this exact requirement, until he retired and got a sole-source $20 M Kt to do the initial effort. He assumed that the bid deadline was flexible. But his late proposal was rejected.

The supplier I contacted was his supplier.

The only other bidder, as far as they knew, was a multi-billion dollar trans-national mega corp., the #2 supplier worldwide of the principle raw material this effort called for.

So, this guy had developed the govt requirement, screened potential subs in a series of field trials, then retired and was given the prime Kt to do the work.

...........

Should I have reported the guy to an IG or something ? Of course.

But I'm a public person, and make enemies like most folks make acquaintances.

I don't like having my family threatened, which happens more that even I can believe.

Besides, considering my relationship with the SecDef at the time, this would have been turned around to be my fault.

SO I did the wrong thing and let it slide.

This was the first acquisition I protested where GAO told me that the Agency doesn't have to give me a debriefing.

Golly, it was 2 years after the contract was awarded before they even announced who got the award, and at what price.

GAO stated that the only reason for their bid protest forum was to promote competition, and debriefings don't promote competition.

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Guest Vern Edwards

I protested where GAO told me that the Agency doesn't have to give me a debriefing.

Golly, it was 2 years after the contract was awarded before they even announced who got the award, and at what price.

GAO stated that the only reason for their bid protest forum was to promote competition, and debriefings don't promote competition.

Please provide the B number of the GAO decision in which it made the statement that you describe.

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Vecchia,

I once bid on a job advertised by the VCSA's Rapid Equipping Force. If you don't know their reputation, OK.

So, anyways, I contacted a potential supplier after bids closed, and he wonders why I'm bothering with supplier quotes, since the bid acceptance period is over. Well, I told him, I bid using mostly WAG estimates.

So he sez to me, would I be interested in teaming with someone who really, really knows this requirement ?

Sure, I reply.

An hour later, the incumbent calls me.

He gripes that his bid was rejected for being 20 minutes late.

(In my personal experience, barely late RFP submissions tend to get accepted, unless there's some bad blood. Excuses can be made.)

Turns out, he was the REF Project Manager for this exact requirement, until he retired and got a sole-source $20 M Kt to do the initial effort. He assumed that the bid deadline was flexible. But his late proposal was rejected.

The supplier I contacted was his supplier.

The only other bidder, as far as they knew, was a multi-billion dollar trans-national mega corp., the #2 supplier worldwide of the principle raw material this effort called for.

So, this guy had developed the govt requirement, screened potential subs in a series of field trials, then retired and was given the prime Kt to do the work.

...........

Should I have reported the guy to an IG or something ? Of course.

But I'm a public person, and make enemies like most folks make acquaintances.

I don't like having my family threatened, which happens more that even I can believe.

Besides, considering my relationship with the SecDef at the time, this would have been turned around to be my fault.

SO I did the wrong thing and let it slide.

This was the first acquisition I protested where GAO told me that the Agency doesn't have to give me a debriefing.

Golly, it was 2 years after the contract was awarded before they even announced who got the award, and at what price.

GAO stated that the only reason for their bid protest forum was to promote competition, and debriefings don't promote competition.

If you feel that doing the right thing is dangerous to your family, I cannot advise you. I can only tell you that I have resigned from the Civil Service and moved to another state when I found similar things in the office that I was working in and my family was NOT endangered by those players. I cannot image that I would remain in an industry or market where doing the right thing would put my family at risk, no matter how much money I was making.

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