60-Second Sustains: Rice Solutions, LLC

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Elizabeth N. Jochum

Rice Solutions, LLC

  • GAO sustained the protester’s allegation that the Department of Health and Human Services had engaged in unequal discussions.
  • Once an agency chooses to conduct discussions, it must do so with all offerors in the competitive range under FAR 15.306(d)(1).
  • Here, the Agency did not dispute that it engaged in discussions with only the awardee, but claimed it had established “a de facto competitive range of one.”
  • GAO found that the record was devoid of any documentation or support for the Agency’s contention that a competitive range had been established before holding discussions with only one offeror, the awardee.
  • GAO stated, “[w]here, as here, there is no record or evidence that the agency established a competitive range, we will not infer the existence of a de facto competitive range, in order to validate an agency’s omission of an offeror during its conduct of discussions.”
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