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Bid protests are so common agencies plan for them

Jul. 11, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

Bid protests are now so common some agencies plan for them in their procurement schedules, according to agency officials.

“We build time in our procurement now for protests. We know we are going to get protested,” Mary Davie, assistant commissioner of the Office of Integrated Technology Services at the General Services Administration, said at a conference Thursday.

Speaking at the 2013 Multiple-Award Government and Industry Conference in Alexandria, Va., Davie said that part of the problem is agencies are not clearly communicating to companies why they did not win the contract, which prompts companies to protest to get more information.

Figures from the Government Accountability Office show that fiscal 2012 saw the most bid protests since at least 2008. Overall cases rose nearly 50 percent from 1,652 in fiscal 2008 to 2,475 in fiscal 2012.

Frank Baitman, chief information officer at the Health and Human Services Department, said contracting within the federal government is broken and that bid protests are one reason why procurements may take up to four years.

“We go into large procurements knowing we are going to be protested,” Baitman said.

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