A woman suspended after calling First Lady Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” in a Facebook post is set to return to work in West Virginia, local media say.

Pamela Ramsey Taylor, who runs a local non-profit group in Clay county, will resume work on 23 December, the Charleston Gazette-Mail said.

The screen grab of the post was widely shared online.

Local mayor Beverly Whaling resigned over the controversy, after she posted “Just made my day, Pam” to the comment.

Funding risk

The Gazette-Mail quoted a letter from the acting director of the non-profit group as saying Ms Taylor would resume work at the Clay County Development Corp on 23 December.

In her Facebook post, Ms Taylor had 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.”

A petition calling for Ms Taylor and Ms Whaling, the mayor of the town of Clay, to be sacked collected more than 85,000 signatures.

Clay town has a population of just 491 and has no African American residents, according to the 2010 census.

More than 98% of Clay County’s 9,000 residents are white.

The Clay County Development group, of which Ms Taylor is the director, is partly funded through state and federal grants, and the group provides services to elderly and low-income residents.

The state commissioner, Robert Roswall, warned at the time that the agency risked losing funding over the issue.

The controversial Facebook post spread across US and international media outlets.

Ms Whaling issued a written apology, saying that her comment was not intended to be racist.

“I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not in any way racist!”

Clay’s town council issued a brief statement apologising to Mrs Obama and condemning the “horrific” post and said “racial intolerance isn’t what this community is about”.

Ms Taylor told local news outlet WSAZ, which first carried the story, that she acknowledged her Facebook post could be “interpreted as racist, but in no way was intended to be”, and that she was expressing a personal opinion on attractiveness, not the colour of a person’s skin.

She told the news station she was considering legal action for slander against unnamed individuals.

The state voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election, giving him 68.7% of ballots cast.