On November 21, 2011, GAO issued a rather surprising decision in which it overturned an agency's determination that an appearance of impropriety justified the termination of a contract award. Specifically, in VSE Corp., B-404833, November 21, 2011, GAO rejected the Contracting Officer's determination that VSE's use of the former government Deputy Project Manager (“DPM”) as a consultant to assist VSE in preparing its proposal created an appearance of impropriety that so tainted the procurement as to justify the termination of the contract.
The procurement sought support services for the Department of the Army's Rapid Equipping Force (“REF”). In May 2011, in a competition amongst seven offerors, VSE was awarded the contract, as the low-cost, technically acceptable offeror. CACI, one of the other offerors, filed an agency-level protest challenging the award on the basis that VSE had obtained an improper competitive advantage by virtue of the fact that it retained the Army's former DPM from the REF program to assist VSE in preparing its proposal.
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