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A-76, Handbook: Part I, Ch. 3, K-1 - Appeals of Cost Comparison

Comptroller General - Key Excerpts

With respect to challenges to cost comparisons under Circular A-76 procedures, we have adopted a policy, for the sake of comity and efficiency, of requiring protesters to exhaust the available administrative appeal process. Thus, we have held that where, as here, there is a relatively speedy appeal process for the review of an agency's cost comparison decision, we will not consider objections to the cost comparison that were not appealed to the agency. See Johnson Controls World Servs., Inc. , B-288636, B-288636.2, Nov. 23, 2001, 2001 CPD 191 at 18; Professional Servs. Unified, Inc. , B257360.2, July 21, 1994, 94-2 CPD 39 at 3. Nevertheless, there is no statutory or regulatory requirement that an offeror exhaust available agencylevel remedies before protesting to our Office, and we retain the discretion to waive the policy requiring the exhaustion of the Circular A-76 appeal process where good cause is shown. Johnson Controls World Servs., Inc. , supra . Here, there is no dispute that various spreadsheets were provided to Frontier during the public review period after the Army's announcement of the tentative cost comparison decision, but prior to Frontier's filing of its administrative appeal. These spreadsheets clearly showed that the MEO staffed the help desk with GS-05 personnel, specifically GS-05 335/Computer Operator (Help Desk)." See , e.g. , Spreadsheets 050503, 041103. In addition, the MEO's technical performance plan and its management plan, as well as the government's in-house cost estimate, showed that the central operations center would be staffed with GS-05 (2) Computer Asst. (Help Desk) Total = 2." AR, Vol. III, Tab 5, MEO Documentation, at962, 965, 1017-18, 1190. Thus, it is clear from this record that Frontier had sufficient information at the time it filed its administrative appeal to have argued that the GS-05 personnel assigned by the MEO to staff the help desk did not have the requisite qualifications, and there is nothing in the record that would warrant waiving our policy requiring the exhaustion of the administrative appeal process. (Frontier Technology, Inc., B-294061, August 12, 2004) (pdf)

We disagree with BAE that the AAB was barred by the RSH from reviewing these appeals issues and making its own judgments as to the amount of staffing required for the in-house offer to satisfy the minimum PWS requirements. The very purpose of the appeal process is to provide affected parties with an opportunity for a higher-level administrative review of the agency’s cost comparison decision prior to that decision becoming final. See, e.g., 32 C.F.R. § 169a.18(a) (DOD Administrative Appeal Procedures); see also Diebold v. United States, 947 F.2d 787, 806 (6 th Cir. 1991) (A-76 administrative appeals process provides for final agency action). Given this purpose, we do not think that the restriction in the RSH cited by BAE was intended to apply to the decisions made by the SSA that were the subject of the appeals here. In this context, the SSA is not making management decisions but is part of the evaluation process, and therefore we see no basis why the SSA’s decisions, like any other evaluation determination, cannot be reviewed by the AAB.  (BAE Systems, B-287189, B-287189.2, May 14, 2001)

Comptroller General - Listing of Decisions

For the Government For the Protester
Frontier Technology, Inc., B-294061, August 12, 2004 (pdf) Del-Jen, Inc., B-287273.2, January 23, 2002  (Pdf Version)
Pacific Support Group, LLC, B-290467, August 8, 2002  (pdf) BAE Systems, B-287189, B-287189.2, May 14, 2001  (pdf)
Symvionics, Inc., B-281199.2, March 4, 1999  (print in pdf) Trajen, Inc., B-284310; B-284310.2, March 28, 2000  (print in pdf)


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