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DorobekInsider: GSA and the Recovery Board release the redacted Recovery.gov contract

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We have been telling you about the the Recovery and Transparency Board and the General Services Administration, which acted as the Recovery Board’s acquisition team, $9.5 million contact award to Smartronix for the next generation of Recovery.gov. (Read DorobekInsider: The real story behind the Recovery.gov contract: The need for govt contracting transparency… More also here and here and here…)

Late on Friday — and it was quite late… 8:42p to be exact — GSA issued a press release announcing that GSA and the Recovery Board had issued a redacted version of the contract with Smartronix.

Generally, when something gets released at nearly 9p on a Friday night in the summer, I always assume they are looking to avoid being noticed. (The wonderful TV show West Wing in the first season did a episode called Taking out the Trash Day, where unpleasant items were released on a Friday.) I’m going to withhold that judgement until I have an opportunity to actually talk to the Recovery Board and GSA officials to get the rest of the story. Let’s just say… I’m suspicious… and I’ll be reading the documents carefully. That being said, it could just be that folks were working until the last minute and they wanted to clear their plate for the weekend. (I would have recommended waiting because, given the importance of transparency with the Recovery and Transparency Board, releasing something late on a Friday night seems to meet the letter but not the intent of transparency.

Anyway, GSA and the Recovery Board did something of a data dump, releasing a number of documents. I have posted the PDF links and the Scrib links, where you can find the releases in a Flash format. I also have posted the GSA release from late Friday. The Recovery Board and GSA have also posted the documents in an .xpx format for use with screen reader software. I haven’t reposted those links. You can find them on the Recovery Board’s Web site.

I have to admit — I spent the weekend moving, but I will read all of them this over this week.

The documents released:

Initial Award of Contract Documents (PDF or Scribd)
This file consists of three documents:
1- The scan of the signed GSA Form 300 (p.1).
2- The Pricing Description (p. 2-3) that lists all awarded and optional Contract Line Items.
3- The Statement of Work (p. 4-44) that details the work Smartronix was expected to perform.

Second Modification Statement of Objectives (PDF or Scrib)
This document was issued by GSA to solicit proposals from firms on the Alliant Governmentwide Contract, detailing the requirements and objectives of the new Recovery.gov.

First Contract Modification (administrative) (PDF or Scrib)
The GSA form 300 that corrected accounting coding information and specified a period of performance for the contract.

Second Contract Modification SF 30 and Pricing (PDF or Scrib)
This file consists of two documents:
1- The scan of the signed Standard Form 30 (p.1).
2- The Pricing Description (p. 2-9) that lists all awarded and optional Contract Line Items, and establishes limits for travel, ancillary and support expenses that can be charged to the government.

Second Modification Statement of Objectives (PDF or Scrib)
This document was issued by GSA to solicit proposals from firms on the Alliant Governmentwide Contract, detailing the requirements and objectives of the new Recovery.gov.

Second Modification Management Proposal (PDF or Scrib)
This document was submitted by Smartronix detailing how the company proposed to meet the Recovery.gov requirements and objectives.

Second Modification Technical Proposal (PDF or Scrib)
This document was submitted by Smartronix detailing how the company proposed to meet the Recovery.gov requirements and objectives.

And the Recovery and Transparency Board/GSA press release:

GSA Releases New Recovery.gov Contract Documents
Contract Posted to Recovery.gov to Promote Transparency and Accountability

WASHINGTON – In a major step toward developing a state-of-the-art website that provides the public with a user-friendly portal to see how recovery money is being spent, the U.S. General Services Administration, on behalf of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, recently awarded Smartronix Inc. with a contract to build the new Recovery.gov website.

GSA, in cooperation with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, has released the contract documents and they have been posted on Recovery.gov.

Through the use of innovative new technology, approachable design, and powerful data analysis and reporting tools, the new Recovery.gov will provide citizens and communities with easy access to information on recovery spending, thus increasing government transparency and accountability.

The contract award for the new Recovery.gov is part of this effort. Included in the information posted to Recovery.gov are the contractual documents, the Statement of Objectives, the contractor’s management and technical proposal which were incorporated into the task order, and a pricing summary.

Consistent with the release of these types of documents, they were carefully reviewed to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations. Proprietary information about Smartronix and its partners has been redacted pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(4), which allows for the withholding of certain commercial or financial records if the release of such records would involve a substantial risk of competitive injury to a business.

Information that qualifies for redaction can include private business sales statistics, technical design, research data, non federal customer and supplier lists, overhead and operating costs, non-public financial statements, resumes of company employees, names of consultants and subcontractors, details of production or quality control systems information, internal operating procedures, staffing patterns, and any information that may place a company at a competitive disadvantage for future procurements.

We take our responsibility to implement the Recovery Act in an open and transparent manner very seriously.

The following three groups of documents have been posted on Recovery.gov at http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/recovery-redesign-contract.

Initial Award of Contract This group consists of three documents:

1- The GSA Form 300 that formally awarded the project to build the new Recovery.gov to Smartronix, Inc. It required Smartronix’s work to be performed according to the attached Statement of Work. It also approved funding totaling $9.5 Million for development and implementation of the website (Contract Line Item 1), and development and implementation of a parallel Continuation of Operations (COOP) Site (Contract Line Item 80).

2- The Pricing Description that lists all awarded and optional Contract Line Items.

3- The Statement of Work that details the work Smartronix was expected to perform.

First Contract Modification (administrative) This group consists of one document:
1- The GSA form 300 that corrected accounting coding information and specified a period of performance for the contract.

Second Contract Modification This group consists of five documents:
1- The Standard Form 30 that clarified information in the initial award document by defining limits for certain expenses the contractor can charge to the government, and requiring that they perform work according to the requirements of the original Statement of Objectives, the contractor’s Management Proposal, and the contractor’s Technical Proposal.
2- The Pricing Description that lists all awarded and optional Contract Line Items, and establishes limits for travel, ancillary and support expenses that can be charged to the government.
3- The Statement of Objectives issued by GSA to solicit proposals from firms on the Alliant Governmentwide Contract, detailing the requirements and objectives of the new Recovery.gov.
4- The Technical Proposal submitted by Smartronix detailing how the company proposed to meet the Recovery.gov requirements and objectives.
5- The Management Proposal submitted by Smartronix detailing how the company proposed to meet the Recovery.gov requirements and objectives.

DorobekInsider: Recovery.gov contractor Smartronix speaks — in a statement

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We’ve been following the controversy around the $9.5 million contract to redesign the Recovery.gov Web site that was awarded to Smartronix. (The chairman of the Recovery Board spoke to Federal News Radio 1500 AM on Monday.)

The company has issued a press release [Scrib in Flash; PDF], but, more importantly, the company also issued a statement about some of the concerns about the contract. [PDF]

It is posted below, but… the highlights:

The task…

The Smartronix Recovery.gov 2.0 Team is required to design, procure, install, configure, secure, operate and maintain an entire Web infrastructure (development, test, staging, and production components) to support tens of millions of users. The Team also must provide a businessintelligence platform for reporting and advanced data visualizations for hundreds of thousands of reporting entities. The solution must be robust, fault tolerant, secure, and highly available. A mirrored continuity of operations environment is also required.

And they pointed to the statement of work

The procurement process and award…

The Recovery.gov 2.0 task was procured in a competitive environment under the newly awarded GSA Alliant contract, which was also competitively awarded. There are 59 awardees under the Alliant contract, including many of the largest and most respected information technology companies in the United States. Smartronix provided a proposal that the government selected as “Best Value” to perform the task’s contractual requirements.

And an excerpt about Smartronix history and an overview of the company…

Smartronix is a classic example of the small business American dream. Founded in 1995 on credit cards, life savings, and second mortgages in a one-room basement office in Lexington Park, Maryland, the company founders had a vision for a company that would demonstrate a strong commitment to customer service and a desire to create a family-oriented culture. Our deep tradition of client and employee commitment and a never-ending desire for continuous improvement has resulted in what was envisioned years ago – a family-like bond with employees and long-lastingpartnerships with clients.

And the Smartronics Recovery.gov team

Here is the full statement:

View this document on Scribd

DorobekInsider: Recovery Board responds to questions — and even posts the Recovery.gov statement of work

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The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board late Friday posted a response to all the questions about its $9.5 million award for the redesign of Recovery.gov.

The big question:

* Isn’t $9.5 million a lot of money to build a Web site?… The Recovery Board essentially says this isn’t just the creation of the Web site.

The initial outlay, $9,516,324, covers many facets: redesign and construction of a new website; installation of hardware and software infrastructure; hosting and operations for the website; more robust data storage; an enhanced content-management system; and contract labor support and other features. If the Recovery Board exercises options under the contract, the cost could total $17,948,518 over a period ending in January 2014.

The Recovery Board also posted the statement of work that was used to solicit vendors. You can see that here… or find it below… (UPDATE: Giving credit where credit is due — the statement of work was actually posted by Sunlight Labs. The Recovery Board included that link with its press release, which I guess confirms any questions there may have been that it was the actual statement of work. That being said, there are going to continue to be calls for the Recovery Board to post the contract — even in redacted form — for the redesign of the Recovery.gov Web site.)

Here is the full statement:

Contract Awarded for Construction of New Recovery.gov

Friday, July 10, 2009

WASHINGTON—In a major step toward developing a state-of-the-art Recovery.gov website, a contract was awarded this week to Smartronix, Inc., a Maryland information technology firm. The company will build the new website for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, an independent agency that manages Recovery.gov and monitors spending under the $787 billion Recovery program.

The initial outlay, $9,516,324, covers many facets: redesign and construction of a new website; installation of hardware and software infrastructure; hosting and operations for the website; more robust data storage; an enhanced content-management system; and contract labor support and other features. If the Recovery Board exercises options under the contract, the cost could total $17,948,518 over a period ending in January 2014.

Smartronix, based in Hollywood, Maryland, describes itself on www.smartronix.com as “a global professional solutions provider specializing in NetOps, Cyber Security, Enterprise Software Solutions, Defense & Commercial Products, and Health IT.” The company won the contract over two other bidders, according to the General Services Administration, which made the award.

Smartronix is now working with three subcontractors: Synteractive Corporation, Washington, D.C.; TMP Government, based in McLean, Va., and New York-based KPMG.

“With the assistance of GSA,” said Earl E. Devaney, the Recovery Board chairman, “we proceeded in a careful fashion to find the best value for the taxpayers’ dollar.” He went on to say: “In the end, this website, above all else, must be user friendly and provide the public with the necessary information on how its money is being spent.”

Devaney explained that the Recovery Board needed also to move swiftly because recipients of Recovery funds—perhaps 200,000 or more—will begin submitting reports to the Recovery Board in October. That information will be posted almost immediately on Recovery.gov, he said.

Devaney and the 12 Inspectors General who comprise the Recovery Board described the contract as firm fixed and competitively bid for operations and maintenance, providing a full solution package to include:

  • Develop the next generation of Recovery.gov, which will be visually pleasing, user friendly and highly interactive.
  • A mapping capacity that will allow users to search for spending all the way down to their own neighborhoods.
  • The capacity to store and easily download massive amounts of data.
  • A state-of-the-art security platform that will protect the integrity and availability of the data and a back-up system in the event of a major catastrophe such as 9/11 or a large-scale power outage.
  • Contract support to perform a wide array of hosting, maintenance and operational services.

The pre-solicitation notice was posted on the FedBizOpps Web site on June 11, 2009. You can see that here.

Here is the statement of work that was sent to vendors on GSA’s Alliant contract:

View this document on Scribd