Jay Self Accuses Joe Shearouse Of Making Him Break Law - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Jay Self Accuses Joe Shearouse Of Making Him Break Law

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DOWNTOWN SAVANNAH -

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Filming is underway for SpongeBob Squarepants Two.  But the Savannah Film Office is acting without a director.  Jay Self was fired Monday.  And he is accusing his former supervisor who ordered his termination of making him break the law. 

Self and his attorney sent WSAV a 14 page letter immediately after he was fired where he claims that Joe Shearouse ordered him to push through film permits and ignore the legal process.  In doing so, according to self, the City of Savannah forfeited its ability to negotiate on behalf of those businesses.  He says he protested but lost the battle and did it on September 20th.  Then, just three days later he was suspended prior to dismissal. 

But Joe Shearouse tells a very different story.  In a memo from last week he told Self it was because of failure to properly plan and manage the arrangement for the SpongeBob movie.  And that Self assured him all "issues with businesses" would be resolved.  He also said there have been numerous complaints from local businesses. 

City of Savannah spokesman Bret Bell tells WSAV very matter of factly that Shearouse did not tell Self to break any laws.  Our attempts to ask Shearouse about these issues have not been answered.  And Self says no one has told him what these complaints are. 

Now production is continuing on schedule with Shearouse acting as the director.  Film office officials say SpongeBob Two is the biggest film production in Savannah since Forest Gump. 

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The same day SpongeBob Squarepants Two began filming there was a big shake-up at the Savannah Film Office.  The director of that office, Jay Self, was fired Monday afternoon in a closed door meeting. 

Self was suspended with pay last week by his supervisor Joe Shearouse, pending his termination hearing.  Publically, Shearouse denied his concerns were related to the SpongeBob movie.  But a 14 page letter given to WSAV by Self says otherwise.  It says the complaints were specific to how he handled the production of the movie.  But neither Shearouse nor city leaders will comment on the reasons behind his termination, saying it is a "personnel matter." 

"The City of Savannah has lost a long time, experienced, well liked, loyal and dedicated employee. It was the city's loss," Self's attorney Rick Gnann said of the decision. 

"The city manager heard from Mr. Self's supervisor and heard from Mr. Self himself. They both presented their cases and the city manager opted to uphold the decision of Mr. Shearouse," said Bret Bell, spokesman for the city. 

Self's attorney says he will start exploring the other employment opportunities he might have. 

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