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Madison Chamber President resigns over 'controversial' Facebook post

PHOTO: MGN/Derzsi Elekes Andor / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Madison Rivergate Area Chamber of Commerce said Monday the organization's president resigned after a post made on her Facebook page last week.

The chairman of the Board of Directors made the announcement saying he respects Debbie Odom Massey's decision to resign. Massey's Facebook privacy settings prevent the general public from viewing her post, which allegedly includes anti-LGBT sentiments.

“I have known Debbie for more than five years and she is one of the hardest working, most dedicated individuals I have known,” Ron Smith stated. “I respect Debbie’s wish to resign her position and allow the Madison Rivergate Chamber to move forward from this unfortunate event. I know that I, along with my fellow board members want to continue the mission of the chamber and be a welcoming institution, open to and willing to assist all persons and businesses in our community.”

The board will immediately begin the search for a new president, and members will begin diversity training.

The Board of Directors plan to review a new social media policy at their next meeting.

“As a longtime volunteer and past president of the Madison Rivergate Area Chamber of Commerce, I’ve had the unique pleasure of working closely with Debbie Massey," said David McMurry. "While the current situation is unfortunate, we wish Debbie every happiness and success as we move forward into the Madison’s renaissance with new Chamber leadership.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said in a statement Friday that Massey's post does not reflect the work of the organization as a whole.

“David McMurry, past president of the Madison-Rivergate Chamber of Commerce, has been a great partner in helping to grow our economy and promote a more inclusive environment in Nashville," Barry said. "The Facebook post referenced does not reflect the great work they are doing as an organization. I’m glad more than 400 businesses from across Davidson County joined Tennessee Thrives to stand against discrimination and promote being a warm and welcoming city for everyone.”

"I thank Mayor Barry for her kind words and remain dedicated to being a great partner in helping our Madison remain a welcoming community, rich with a diverse mixture of residents and businesses," McMurry said. "I’m proud to learn the Madison Chamber is joining Tennessee Thrives and look forward to building stronger relationships with our local chamber neighbors and working closely with the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce.”

The Madison Rivergate Area Chamber of Commerce has more than 200 business and individual members.

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