Clay director who made controversial Facebook post removed from office

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West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Tuesday that state officials have been assured that a woman who made a controversial Facebook post about first lady Michelle Obama has been removed as director of the Clay County Development Corp.

Tomblin said in a news release that Pamela Ramsey Taylor is no longer head of the development corporation. Taylor made national headlines after she referred to the first lady in a Facebook post as “a ape in heels.”

Tomblin also announced in the news release that the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services has secured an agreement between the Appalachian Area Agency on Aging and the Clay County Development Corp. to have the Appalachian Area Agency manage the Clay County organization on a daily basis for six months.

In his statement, the governor said, “The West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services has secured an agreement between the Appalachian Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and the Clay County Development Corporation (CCDC), through which the AAA will manage the CCDC on a daily basis for a term of six months beginning today.

“The agreement, which was approved by the CCDC board of directors this past Friday, includes oversight of work carried out by the CCDC as part of state contracts to provide essential services for senior citizens in Clay County. Robert Roswall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Senior Services, met with representatives of the AAA and CCDC today to ensure continuity of the state services provided as this transition takes place.

“This six-month time period will give the CCDC an opportunity to make any management or governance changes necessary to ensure the entity is in full contractual compliance with the state of West Virginia. Following the state’s request for specific assurances that the CCDC is following anti-discrimination policies, we have been assured that Pamela Taylor has been removed from her position as CCDC director.”

Taylor’s six-week suspension from the corporation ended Friday. State officials had previously expressed concern when they learned Taylor had been reinstated.

Earlier in the month, Tomblin’s office announced it was reviewing its contracts with Clay County Development Corp. to “determine any alternatives the state may have.”

Beverly Whaling, the mayor of Clay, commented on Taylor’s post saying “Just made my day Pam.” Whaling turned in her letter of resignation on Nov. 15. Jason Hubbard was appointed interim mayor on Nov. 16.

The incident garnered national attention. An online petition to fire Taylor received more than 218,000 signatures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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