Kloppenburg Enterprises Inc. has lost a protest on the award of a DoDea bus contract.

The General Accounting Office denied the protest against the award of a busing contract to transport dependents of military-service members and civilian employees to and from schools operated by Department of Defense Education Activity in Guam.

In a decision issued by the GAO on Dec. 10 Alutiiq Management Services LLC (the incumbent contractor and an Alaskan native corporation) was confirmed as the awardee of a fixed-price contract for a base year with two option years for bus services.

The award was made to Alutiiq on July 14 on the basis of the firm’s low price. Kloppenburg protested the award to GAO complaining among other things that Alutiiq did not have a Data Universal Numbering System number Alutiiq was not registered in the Central Contractor Registration database at the time of award and that the request for proposals should have provided for electronic submission of proposals.

Dun and Bradstreet information services assign a DUNS number and different DUNS numbers are assigned for each of a contractor’s differing locations addresses or legal divisions.

The CCR is a database used to collect and manage contractor information including taxpayer identification numbers and electronic fund transfer information.

DoDEA received four proposals for busing including those of Kloppenburg and Alutiiq. Alutiiq’s proposal of $2.42 million was the lowest-priced offer and Kloppenburg’s proposal of $2.86 million was next lowest-priced offer.

According to the GAO decision DoDEA’s technical evaluation team evaluated the proposals against the evaluation factors by identifying strengths and weaknesses in each proposal and assigning a rating to each technical proposal.

Kloppenburg’s and Alutiiq’s proposals were both rated exceptional under the technical factor and good under the past performance factor and were considered technically equal.

The GAO said the incumbent contractor — Alutiiq — did in fact have a DUNS number for its main corporate office in Anchorage Alaska and that office was registered in the CCR database.

On July 12 DoDEA informed Alutiiq that it need to obtain an additional CCR registration to reflect the address of the office that would receive payments under the contract. On that same date Alutiiq informed DoDEA via electronic mail that it would “make immediate arrangements with my [Alutiiq] home office in Anchorage to establish a new CCR registration and cage code for this contract changing the address to our office in Chesapeake Va.”

The GAO ruled that Kloppenburg failed to establish that it was prejudiced by the award to Alutiiq before the firm’s Chesapeake office was registered. “Although the agency [DoDEA] should have awaited the registration of Alutiiq’s Chesapeake office in the CCR database before making award Kloppenburg has failed to establish that it was prejudiced by this error ” GAO said in its decision.

As to Kloppenburg’s complaint that the request for proposal was improperly issued as a commercial item acquisition and did not provide for the use of electronic commerce to receive proposals the GAO said that under bid regulations protests based upon alleged apparent improprieties in a solicitation must be filed prior to the time set for initial proposals. MBJ