Don’t rely on an out-of-office notification to keep you in the competition. The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recently-published decision in Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc., B-418946, Oct. 23, 2020, 2020 CPD ¶ 331, illustrates the dangers of relying on an automatic out-of-office notification when communicating with the Government during an ongoing procurement.
Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (Ortho) protested an award at GAO of a Navy contract for laboratory systems. The Navy opened discussions with all vendors after receiving five quotations but finding none was technically acceptable. On May 7, 2020, the Navy contracting specialist emailed a discussions letter to Ortho’s contract manager, who was the point of contact listed in Ortho’s quotation for all correspondence regarding the quotation. In addition to identifying issues in Ortho’s original proposal, the email informed Ortho that it must submit a revised proposal no later than 2:00 PM on May 15, 2020. The Navy never received a response from Ortho and concluded that Ortho had removed itself from the competition. Ortho did not learn of the emailed discussions letter until receiving its post-award debriefing.
Continue reading at: Wiley