Lone Pine resident Chris Langley will continue to serve as the Inyo County film commissioner for at least another year.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a long-term contract with Langley that allows him to continue work he’s been doing on the county’s behalf for five years – and get paid for it.
Langley’s new contract will run from April 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $71,975.
The Board of Supervisors issued a request for proposals for the film commissioner position on Jan. 15, essentially asking any and all residents interested in serving as the Film Commissioner to apply for the position. Langley, who has served as Film Commissioner since 2007, was the only person who responded.
County Administrator Kevin Carunchio said Langley’s proposal was “thorough, detailed and enlightening,” and covered all of the duties of the film commissioner.
The Board of Supervisors decided to open the film commissioner position to proposals in 2011 after two supervisors said they heard interest in applying from constituents.
As Carunchio prepared the request for proposals for the position, Langley’s contract expired, was extended, then expired again.
Langley continued working out of contract until January 2013, when Carunchio completed the RFP. Before issuing the request, Langley asked that the county approve a retroactive contract that would pay him for his services while working out of contract.
Initially, the board denied Langley’s request. A week later, Fifth District Supervisor Matt Kingsley asked to rescind that decision and develop a contract to pay Langley. That contract, which provides for services from June 2012 through March 2013, was approved on a four-fifths vote, with First District Supervisor Linda Arcularius casting the dissenting vote.
Carunchio said that the contract with Langley that was approved this week spans three budget years (the end of 2012-13, all of 2013-2014 and the start of 2014-15). According to Carunchio, it includes the $40,000 a-year salary that is “traditional” for the position, as well as $3,000 for a redesign of the Film Commission’s website.
Carunchio said that, under the new contract, the Film Commission’s website must be registered to the county, and hosted by an Inyo County Information Services-approved server.
Arcularius asked if the website would keep its current www.inyolocations.org  address, or if it would be changed.
Carunchio said staff does not yet know if the website address will have to be changed or not.
Moving forward, Arcularius said she wanted to ensure that when someone does a Web search for Inyo County filming, that “it isn’t just Lone Pine that comes up.”
A Google search of “Inyo County Filming” turned up the Film Commission website as the first result. The website includes a list of filming locations from Death Valley to Bishop, including Big Pine’s “Big Ears” facility, the casino in Bishop, locations in and around Independence and “alpine” settings.
Carunchio also said the contract with Langley discusses the drafting of a county ordinance that would create a fee schedule for film permits in Inyo County. He said he has been in contact with Langley on that issue, and hopes to present an ordinance to the Board of Supervisors “soon.”
Carunchio added that, because the movie industry is fast-paced and often operates on short notice, Langley wants to ensure that the permitting process and fee schedule does not become a “bureaucratic mess.”
The fear is that if a production company scouts the area, finds a suitable location and has to wait for county approval to begin filming, many companies would simply pack up and head for a different location.
Langley was out of town and unavailable to comment as of press time.