You’re Not my Huckleberry: Agency Appropriately Rejected Proposal Due to Key Person’s Lack of Hands-On Experience; Facility Services Management, Inc., GAO B-418526 et al.


Protest challenging agency’s evaluation of proposed key personnel is denied. The agency found the protester’s proposal deficient because its proposed maintenance supervisor lacked hand-on maintenance experience. The protester argued the agency applied unstated criteria because the solicitation only sought someone with supervisory experience, not hands-on maintenance experience. GAO found that the solicitation explicitly required that the maintenance supervisor have experience performing the tasks that they would supervise.

The Army Corps of Engineers issued a solicitation seeking facility operations and maintenance services at Walter Reed Medical Center. Facility Services Management, Inc. (FSM) submitted a bid. The Corps, however, found FSM’s proposal unacceptable because the company’s proposed maintenance supervisor lacked experience required by the solicitation. FSM protested.

The Corps found FSM’s proposal deficient because the company’s proposed maintenance supervisor did not have experience personally performing the maintenance operations specified in the solicitation. FSM claimed that the solicitation only required the maintenance supervisor to have managerial experience; it did not require the supervisor to have actual hands-on maintenance experience. Thus, FSM argued, the Corps had applied unstated evaluation criteria.

GAO found this argument completely meritless. The solicitation stated that the supervisor had to have “5 years’ experience in hospital operations and maintenance” and had to “be able to perform maintenance operations necessary” to execute various tasks.

FMS attempted to argued that its proposed maintenance supervisor actually possessed the required hands on experience. But GAO found that the resume FSM submitted for the supervisor did not provide any examples of the proposed supervisor’s experience performing various maintenance operations.

FSM is represented by John C. Dulske, Ryan Sullivan, Bonnie Kirkland, and Joanne Zimolzak of Dykema Gossett PLLC. The intervenor, J&J Maintenance, is represented by Adam K. Lasky, Brad Bigos, and Emily A. Yoshiwara of Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker, LLP. The agency is represented by Tamar Gerhard and Michael Graves of the Army. GAO attorneys Young H. Cho and Peter H. Tran participated in the preparation of the decision.

GAO - Facility Services Management, Inc.