OPA, Calvo asked to act on protest
PACIFIC Data Systems (PDS) has withdrawn its request for a hearing on its appeal for the revocation of the General Services Agency’s award of certain task orders to GTA Teleguam Holdings, and asked the Office of Public Accountability to rule on the protest based on papers filed.
At the same time, Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz asked Gov. Eddie B. Calvo to use his executive authority to lift the block that hampers the implementation of the government of Guam’s master telecommunication contract, which was originally scheduled to take effect this month.
The multiple-award contract, which GSA awarded to PDS and GTA on May 3, involves a wholesale procurement package for about 2,500 phone lines, voice data, Internet, broadband, wireless and other telecommunication needs.
The contract is designed to consolidate the solicitations for telecommunication services of all line agencies of GovGuam covered by the GSA procurement system.
Citing the Bureau of Information and Technology’s analysis, Cruz said the current telecom contract costs the government approximately $2.7 million per year. “By comparison, the proposed unified contract – presently mired in protest – would save the government $1.5 million or 55 percent yearly,” he added.
“Based on the significant savings we would experience and the specter of dramatic cuts to personnel and their benefits, I urge you to explore the option of raising this contract beyond the present protests through your executive authority,” the Vice Speaker said in a letter to Calvo.
PDS won a majority of the multiple award contract, while GTA received the task orders for wireless service, cellular phone device, broadband and Internet access. The WiFi service portion was split between GTA and IT&E.
The master agreement, however, remains in limbo pending resolution of PDS’ protest filed with the OPA. A hearing at the Public Accountability Office is scheduled for Sept. 6. Docomo Pacific has filed a separate appeal with GSA.
A source within the telecommunications industry said the best solution to the delayed execution of the contract would be for the OPA and GSA “to rule on the protests as submitted, rather than trying to use the executive branch to circumvent the normal protest process, which is there for a reason.”
The source expressed doubts the governor has the power to “exercise executive authority” when the protests were based on an allegedly improper bidding award.
“So it's unclear to me what Sen. Cruz means, exactly, by ‘use executive authority’ to move the contract process forward,” the source said. “It's similarly unclear whether that ‘authority’ would mean in a context where there are formal protests lodged against the bid award because of alleged defects in GTA's bid forms.”
PDS claims GTA should have been disqualified from the bidding because it did not submit a local procurement preference application. “GSA established a past policy and precedent that bidders must submit an application to qualify for local procurement preference,” PDS President John Day stated in the protest filed on May 17.
In a separate appeal, Docomo alleged the ownership and commission affidavit that GTA submitted to GSA was “fatally defective.”
GTA earlier asked the OPA to dismiss PDS’ protest, saying it was lodged past the filing deadline. “A bidder must submit a protest 14 days from when it knows or should know the facts – giving rise to the protest,” GTA said in a July 12 motion, noting PDS waited 10 months “to take action.”
OPA, Calvo asked to act on protest