Valdosta Daily Times

State News

October 1, 2013

City of Savannah fires director of film office

SAVANNAH — The director of Savannah’s film office was fired Monday after city officials said complaints surfaced about the production of “Spongebob 2 The Movie.”

City officials first suspended Film Services Director Jay Self without pay, and decided to fire him during an appeal hearing Monday afternoon.

Self’s boss, Joseph Shearouse, the city’s leisure services bureau chief, will assume many of Self’s duties while the city looks for a replacement, city spokesman Brett Bell said. Bell declined to comment further on the city’s decision to fire Self or the factors that led to the decision, saying city officials typically don’t speak publicly about personnel matters.

A Sept. 23 city memo obtained by WTOC-TV accuses Self of shortcomings surrounding the filming of the Spongebob sequel. It cites complaints from local businesses and others.   

“This action is as a result of your failure to properly plan and manage the arrangement for the movie ‘SpongeBob 2 The Movie,”’ Shearouse, said in a memo to Self explaining the suspension. In the memo, Shearouse referred to a meeting that he, Self and the city manager had held on July 17 to discuss the movie.

“At that time, you assured the City Manager that prior to the arrival of the movie’s production team all issues with businesses related to the movie would be resolved,” he wrote.

Then, in late August, Shearouse and Self met again.

“At that time I told you your position as Film Services Director was in jeopardy,” Shearouse said.  

After the production team arrived, the mayor and city manager received “numerous” complaints from local businesses, Shearouse said.

In a 14-page statement provided by his attorney, Self said the city’s decision to terminate him violates his constitutional right to due process because he was never given an opportunity to respond to complaints that were made against him — which Self says he neither saw nor heard before he was suspended.  

“I have given my heart and soul to establishing this office and making Savannah a film-friendly community,” Self said in the statement. “I did so over the last 18 years by building relationships in and outside of Savannah, but I also did so by ensuring that, when the movie stars and deep-pocketed film companies pack up and leave Savannah, they do so leaving Savannah in a better place.”

Ruel Joyner, president of the Downtown Business Association, was quoted by the Savannah Morning News as saying that Self has always been a good liaison between local businesses and production companies.

Filming for “SpongeBob Squarepants 2 The Movie” has already started on Tybee Island and is expected to move to downtown Savannah in the near future, Bell said.

He added that the production is expected to produce about $8 million in direct revenue for the city, and several times that amount in indirect revenue.

 

1
Text Only
State News
  • Ga. online tuition dropping

    Jenni Small has good reason for avoiding 8 a.m. world literature classes at Dalton State College in northern Georgia. The 23-year-old works night shifts as an operator for carpet manufacturer Shaw while finishing her bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
    Instead of heading straight to class from work, she uses eCore — an online system that focuses on “core” classes that every Georgia state college or university student must take — for 1 or 2 courses each semester.

    April 21, 2014

  • Vidalia Onion Battle_Rich copy.jpg Vidalia onion farmer back in court over ship date

    One of Georgia’s most prominent Vidalia onion farmers is going back to court in an effort to stop the state agriculture commissioner from fining growers who ship the famous sweet onions before a certain date.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • GEORGIA PORTS_Rich copy.jpg Ga. ports on track to smash cargo records

    Georgia’s seaports are on track to finish the 2014 fiscal year with record cargo volumes as third-quarter numbers show big growth capped by the ports’ busiest month ever in terms of total tonnage being shipped to and from the docks.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gov. Deal signs prisoner re-entry bill into law

    Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill into law on Sunday that is aimed at reducing recidivism among ex-offenders and helping them successfully re-enter society.

    April 14, 2014

  • Deal reports $3.9M in cash for re-election bid

    Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday reported $3.9 million in cash for his re-election bid, after raising about $84,000 in 11 days since the legislative session ended.

    April 8, 2014

  • photoscape_eagle.jpg Ga. eagle population continues growth

    During a late-March aerial survey by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, more than 25 bald eagle nests were counted in northeastern Georgia. All but three represented viable adults and chicks.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Private company selling Georgia accident reports

    Selling car crash reports to a private company has saved time and money according to state officials, but some drivers cite concerns over retrieval costs and privacy.

    April 7, 2014

  • Forecasters issue flood watch in Ga.

    The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch covering much of the state.

    April 6, 2014

  • Georgia wants private companies to manage student housing

    Georgia is on course to become one of the nation’s largest experiments in privatized college dorms, but it’s unclear whether the changes will lower students’ bills at a time when university costs are soaring.

    April 6, 2014

  • Ga. misses food stamp backlog deadline

    State officials say Georgia missed the deadline to clear backlogged food stamp cases, putting millions of dollars of federal funding at risk.

    April 5, 2014

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results