Submitted: January 9, 2015.
Appealed from No. BP-34 of 2014. State Agency: Department of Corrections.
Karl S. Myers, Philadelphia, for petitioner.
Valerie Janosik-Nehilla, Assistant Counsel, and Julie R. Tilghman, Assistant Counsel, Mechanicsburg, for respondent.
C. Grainger Bowman, Harrisburg, for amicus curiae Securus Technologies, Inc.
BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge. OPINION BY PRESIDENT JUDGE PELLEGRINI.
DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge
Global Tel*Link Corporation (GTL) petitions for review of the order of the Department of Corrections (Department) dismissing GTL's bid protest of the selection of Securus Technologies, Inc. (Securus) for contract negotiations as a result of Request for Proposal No. 2013-90 (RFP) involving a contract for a secure inmate telephone system (ITS) to provide telephone services and call monitoring and recording for inmates housed at Department facilities. We affirm.
In October 2013, the Department issued the RFP " to provide inmates confined at [Department] facilities with a highly reliable, high quality service to call family and friends, give the [Department] the capability to perform oversight and monitoring of inmate calls and fund the inmate general welfare fund." (Reproduced Record (RR) at 69a). The RFP stated tat the sole point of contact was the Issuing Officer and that the Department would notify in writing the offeror " whose proposal is determined to be the most advantageous" by a committee of qualified personnel (Evaluation Committee) after considering " all of the evaluation factors." ( Id. at 69a, 83a).
The following criteria was to be used to evaluate the proposals: (1) technical considerations such as inmate telephone service, contractor qualifications, capability and capacity for monitoring and recording, ease of use and investigative and intelligence features, maintenance and training (50% of total points); (2) cost rating giving the proposal with the lowest total cost the maximum number of points and rating the others based on a predetermined formula (30% of total points); (3) Small Diverse Business (SDB) Participation granting additional points based on the extent of SDB participation (20% of total points); and (4) Domestic Workforce Utilization (DWU) adding bonus points to the total points based on the use of the domestic work force in fulfilling the contract (3% bonus points). The RFP specifically provided that an offeror's proposal must receive at least 70% of the available technical points to be eligible for selection for continued consideration and the submission of a best and final offer (BAFO) and contract negotiations and that the Department " must select for contract negotiations the Offeror
with the highest overall score...." (RR at 86a, 87a).
The Department was permitted to seek oral or written clarification of a proposal at any stage of the selection process prior to contract execution " to ensure thorough mutual understanding" and " responsiveness" to its requirements. (RR at 72a). The Department also reserved the right to request additional information necessary to ensure the offeror's ability to perform, to conduct investigations " as deemed necessary" to determine an offeror's ability to perform, and to reject a proposal if the additional information or investigation fail to show the proper qualification to carry out the obligations of the RFP. ( Id. at 78a). Any offeror determined to be " reasonably susceptible of being selected" could also be required to provide a site demonstration to show " the functional capability" to perform and that " [t]he proposed equipment and software must be in production, installed and in use by one (1) or more customers of the Offeror...." ( Id. at 112a). In addition, " [t]he demonstration of the proposed solution as proposed in the RFP shall be conducted at an offeror's customer location" and " [t]he solution to be demonstrated must be operational, in production, and in operation at the site." ( Id. at 112a, 113a).
The Department was to notify all offerors in writing of the offeror selected for contract negotiations after determining " the proposal that is most advantageous to the [Department]." (RR at 76a). The Department would also notify offerors whose proposals were not selected when contract negotiations were successfully completed and the Department has received the final contract signed by the selected offeror. On receiving notification of non-selection, an offeror was given the opportunity to be debriefed or to file a protest " within seven days after the protesting party knew or should have known of the facts giving rise to the protest," but it could not be filed " later than seven days after ...