The Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied the protests of the GSA’s Office Supplies 3 (OS3) strategic sourcing contract, leaving the protesters dismayed and in shock.
In issuing their decision Monday, GAO’s lawyers found the General Services Administration (GSA) did indeed meet the requirements under the Small Business Jobs Act to evaluate the economic impact of OS3 on small businesses.
GAO’s decision comes despite the fact that the Small Business Administration in April ruled that GSA’s analysis was faulty. SBA found GSA’s analysis didn’t fully consider the negative impact OS3 could have on small firms.
But GAO stated the Small Business Jobs Act doesn’t require agencies to develop a “more detailed” or “quantified cost-benefit analysis” and therefore GSA’s determination met the letter of the law.
“GSA conducted market research and considered alternatives to the procurement approach set forth in the solicitation,” GAO’s Susan Poling, GAO’s general counsel, said in the opinion. “Further, the agency prepared a consolidation analysis which recognized that there was a potential for a reduction in sales for small business contractors who did not receive awards under the OS3 solicitation. The agency concluded, however, that the benefits to be gained through OS3 outweigh the potential negative impact to small business concerns. We find that GSA’s analysis addressed the relevant requirements of the SB Jobs Act, and therefore find no basis to sustain the protest.”
GAO addressed SBA’s ruling in the protest decision. Lawyers say SBA’s procurement center representative’s disagreement with GSA’s analysis wasn’t a basis for GAO to conclude the evaluation was unreasonable.
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