Update: Nonprofit leader who wrote racist Michelle Obama post fired

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CLAY, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia nonprofit group has fired its director after she wrote a Facebook post referring to first lady Michelle Obama as an "ape in heels."

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office said Tuesday that Pamela Ramsey Taylor, executive director of the Clay County Development Corp., was removed following an agreement with the nonprofit's board of directors.

Taylor's racist social media comments were not directly mentioned as the reason.

However, Tomblin spokeswoman Jessica Tice says the state requested "specific assurances" the nonprofit is following anti-discrimination policies and has been assured Taylor is gone as director.

She says another agency will manage it for six months while the nonprofit makes any changes needed for compliance as a state contractor.

The nonprofit provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County.


The executive director of a nonprofit group has completed her suspension after she wrote a Facebook post referring to first lady Michelle Obama as an "ape in heels."

The Clay County Development Association board suspended Executive Director Pamela Ramsey Taylor for six weeks. The suspension ended Friday. The association was closed on Friday because the nonprofit normally follows the local public school schedule.

Clay County Sheriff Garrett Samples said a few people called asking for permits to protest outside the association. But no one protested on Friday.

West Virginia officials said they were reconsidering state contracts with the association in light of the Facebook post. The group provides services to elderly and low-income residents with the help of state and federal grants and local fees.


UPDATE: 12/15/2016 3:36 p.m.

CLAY, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia officials are investigating finances at a nonprofit group whose director came under fire after making a racist comment about first lady Michelle Obama on Facebook.

News outlets report state Bureau of Senior Services and Appalachian Area Agency on Aging officials visited the Clay County Development Corporation Wednesday to meet employees.

Commission of Senior Services Robert Roswall says the visit involved potential violations of the state's contract with the center, whose director, Pamela Ramsey Taylor, was suspended after making the post following Trump's election. Taylor is scheduled to return to work Dec. 23.

Roswall says Wednesday's visit wasn't related to Taylor's employment status or her social media comments.

The Clay County organization provides services to elderly and low-income residents. It's funded through state and federal grants and local fees.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE: 12/14/2016 3:28 p.m.

CLAY, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia officials may reconsider contracts with a nonprofit group whose suspended director is scheduled to return to her job after making a racist comment about first lady Michelle Obama on Facebook.

Clay County Development director Pamela Ramsey Taylor was suspended after making the post following Trump's election, saying: "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

Taylor is scheduled to return to work Dec. 23.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's spokeswoman Jessica Tice tells news outlets that the state's Bureau for Senior Services and the Bureau for Medical Services are reviewing contracts with the nonprofit to see if the state has any alternatives.

The organization provides services to elderly and low-income Clay County residents.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE: 12/12/2016 2:26 p.m.

CLAY, W.Va. (AP) - The director of a West Virginia nonprofit group who was placed on leave after making a racist comment about first lady Michelle Obama on Facebook plans to return to her job this month.

Clay County Development director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Trump's election, saying: "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

The Charleston-Gazette reports a letter from the agency's acting director Leslie McGlothin to the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services says Taylor is on suspension and scheduled to return to work Dec. 23.

The nonprofit provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County. It is funded through state and federal grants and local fees.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


The Latest on the fallout from a racist comment about first lady Michelle Obama that a local West Virginia official posted on Facebook (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

The town recorder in Clay, West Virginia, says the mayor has resigned following her response to a racist post on Facebook about first lady Michelle Obama.

Joe Coleman said Tuesday that Mayor Beverly Whaling's resignation is effective immediately.

Whaling earlier apologized for her response to a post made by Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey Taylor after Republican Donald Trump's election as president. Taylor's post said, "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

Whaling responded: "Just made my day Pam."

Whaling said earlier she isn't racist. Taylor hasn't returned a call seeking comment.

11:15 a.m.
The mayor of a West Virginia town has issued an apology for her response to a racist post on Facebook about first lady Michelle Obama.

Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling says her comment wasn't intended to be racist.

Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Republican Donald Trump's election as president, saying: "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling responded: "Just made my day Pam."

Whaling said in a statement sent to news media that she was referencing the change in the White House. She says she isn't racist.

Taylor did not return a call seeking comment.

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8:20 a.m.

A local West Virginia official said she has been placed on leave after she made a racist post on Facebook about first lady Michelle Obama.

Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Republican Donald Trump's election as president, saying: "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling responded: "Just made my day Pam."

Taylor told WCHS-TV on Monday night that she was put on leave.

Clay's town council planned to discuss the issue at a previously scheduled meeting Tuesday evening.

The post, first reported by WSAZ-TV, has caused a backlash and prompted calls for Taylor and Mayor Whaling to be fired. The post was shared hundreds of times on social media before it was deleted. The Facebook pages of Taylor and Whaling couldn't be found Monday.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



 
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