Last week, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) issued a final rule amending the General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (“GSAR”) to clarify that the ordering-agency task and delivery order ombudsman has jurisdiction and responsibility to review and resolve fair opportunity complaints on task and delivery orders placed against GSA multiple-award contracts (“MACs”). The final rule also requires the ordering agency to include contact information for their task and delivery order ombudsman when placing task or delivery orders against MACs. In addition, it requires a contractor to provide a copy of its complaint to the GSA procurement ombudsman for informational purposes, at the same time the contractor files its complaint with the ordering agency for action.
Although the final rule is nothing groundbreaking and, instead, simply brings internal GSAR policy up-to-date with existing FAR policy, it is nonetheless a gentle reminder to MAC awardees of their rights with respect to being considered for task and delivery orders. The FAR requires contracting officers to provide each awardee a fair opportunity to be considered for each order exceeding $3,500 issued under a MAC. To that end, and barring an exception, such as urgent and compelling need, contracting officers must notify each MAC awardee that a task order is going to be awarded by, for example, posting the RFQ on eBuy to afford all schedule contractors under the appropriate special item number an opportunity to submit a quote. In other words, fair opportunity helps level the playing field for MAC awardees. Thus, the next time your competitor – and fellow MAC holder – is awarded a task or delivery order that you never even saw, consider whether a fair opportunity complaint is warranted.
About the author: Peter Ford is an associate with PilieroMazza in the Government Contracts Group. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.