Termination for Cause Justified by Contractor’s Shoddy Performance; SCS Building Maintenance, Inc. v. General Services Administration, CBCA 5766

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Appeal of a termination for cause is denied. The agency terminated a contract for janitorial services after a significant decline in the quality of the contractor’s performance. The contractor argued on appeal that it had been forced to provide more services than it had contracted for. The board, however, found that the contractor failed to provide any evidentiary support for this argument.

SCS Building Maintenance had a contract with GSA to provide janitorial services at a courthouse and federal building. GSA exercised every option on the contract. But in the last option year, GSA noticed decline in the quality of SCS’s work. In particular, SCS had let things slide on grounds maintenance; it stopped pruning shrubs and let weeds grow in planters. There were also concerns with SCS’s cleaning of the courthouse.

GSA issued a cure notice. SCS claimed that it was being asked to clear more than required under the contract. The unsatisfactory performance continued, so GSA terminated the contract for cause. SCS appealed the termination the CBCA,

An agency bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that a termination for cause was justified. The contractor bears the burden to show that it was excused from performance and that the termination should be converted to a termination for convenience. Here, the board found that the agency had met its burden. The record showed that the contractor failed to adequately perform janitorial services. SCS had provided GSA with unsupported excuses an no assurances that it could perform as required by the contract. Moreover, SCS had not cured its performance after receiving a cure notice.

The board noted that SCS had a cognizable defense—namely, that users of the building were requiring more services than GSA had contracted for. But SCS had not identified anything in the record to support this defense.

SCS is represented by its President/CEO Trevor H. Rhone. The government is represented by Michael Converse of GSA.

CBCA - SCS Building Maintenance