The invitation was to bid on a massive, high-stakes contract, estimated to be as high as $5 billion. Dozens of companies went for it, working for months to polish their proposals, then waiting for more than a year to see if they had won.
But instead of granting awards that would be part of the federal government’s largest training and human resources contract, the Office of Personnel Management issued a terse notice earlier this month that weighed in at five words: “This solicitation is hereby cancelled.”
The risk of losing is inherent in the business of federal contracting, but the sudden cancellation of such a high-profile contract with no explanation struck many as an unnecessarily secretive and bad way of doing business. The head of the Professional Services Council, an industry group representing more than 370 companies, fired off a letter saying many companies were “stunned” at the cancellation and the way it was handled.