Bid Protests: Useful Tool Or Abusive Practice?

Frank Konkel | FCW | January 7, 2013

The bid protest that has put a temporary halt to NASA’s plans to move from a proprietary content management system to open source architecture is just the latest example of how procurement disputes can delay agency initiatives for months.

The motives behind bid protests are not always clear, according to Jaime Gracia, president and CEO of Seville Government Consulting, who said the continued increase of bid protests in the federal space is evidence that some vendors and contractors are “abusing” the system.

Bid protest filings at GAO have increased each year since 2008, experiencing double-digit increases in fiscal 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the agency’s annual report on bid protests.  Gracia said a big reason for incumbent companies to file protests when they lose a contract is simply extra revenue.  With a properly filed protest, an incumbent can often extend the contract at least until the protest is reviewed...