GSA opens reverse auctions platform

July 14, 2013

The General Services Administration last week opened a reverse auction platform meant to help federal agencies save money on frequent purchases, such as office equipment.

Through the reverse auction process, the sellers compete to be selected, meaning the prices decrease as the auction progresses.

The site, at reverseauctions.gsa.gov, allows federal agencies to conduct reverse auctions using existing contract vehicles known as schedules, according to the GSA. It can also set aside auctions for small businesses.

GSA official Erville Koehler said the Web site, which went live at the start of the month, already has held 23 reverse auctions, some of which have ended.

“It’s not built for everything,” he said. “We would advise that it should be for low-priced, technically acceptable purchases.”

Companies can bid as many times as they like and will be able to see the lowest bid, but not the company that offered it, according to Koehler.

He said he expects the Web site to be used to make thousands of purchases annually.

SAIC postpones investor conference

McLean-based Science Applications International Corp. said earlier this month that it is postponing an investor conference scheduled for mid-July.

The company had set the date in anticipation that its split into two public companies could occur as soon as August.

“The company now believes that the separation transaction will occur later in the fiscal year,” SAIC said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company plans to reschedule the conference, and said it is still on track to complete the separation by January.

GAO rejects IN2 protest

The Government Accountability Office has denied a protest filed by Sterling-based IN2 against an Army contract awarded to San Antonio-based Choctaw Contracting services.

IN2’s technical proposal for the contract, which covers staffing and operating Army Strong Community Centers, was deemed unacceptable, according to the GAO report. The company contended that its proposal’s deficiencies reflected ambiguity in the solicitation.

“We find from review of the record that the Army’s evaluation of IN2’s proposals was reasonable,” the GAO found. “There is no merit to the protester’s objection that the solicitations’ evaluation schemes did not clearly identify the information required to be provided.”

GAO denies Argos Group

The GAO also denied a claim for costs from the District-based Argos Group, which was seeking reimbursement from the General Services Administration for a protest it filed last year.

The GAO had sustained the Argos Group’s protest, in which it argued that a GSA solicitation for FBI space in Hudson Valley, N.Y., did not include a 10 percent evaluation preference for certain small businesses. The GAO had recommended the GSA reimburse the company’s protest costs.

Shortly after, the Argos Group submitted a claim for more than $92,000 in attorney’s fees and administrative support costs. The GSA, after corresponding with Argos, said the company had not provided enough evidence to support its costs.

“We agree with the agency,” the GAO wrote. “A recommendation from our office that an agency reimburse a protester the costs of preparing its proposal ... is not a blank check.”

The GAO disputed the attorney hours, noting that the company claimed its attorney spent more than 70 hours preparing a two-page protest. It declined to recommend reimbursement.

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