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Saline County official criticized for racial slur

SALINA, Kan. (AP) -- A member of the Saline County Commission apologized for using a racial slur during a public meeting but said he did not intend to resign.

Saline County Commissioner Jim Gile used the slur last week while the commission was discussing hiring an architect for a county roof repair project. When asked what he meant by the slur, Gile replied: "Afro-Americanized."

Gile read an apology Tuesday at the commission's meeting, the Salina Journal reported.

"I apologize for making the mistake and fully recognize what I said was wrong," Gile said in his statement.

Commission Chairman Randy Duncan said he accepted Gile's apology.

But two Salina residents asked Gile to resign.

"If you are so insensitive to use the 'N-word' without even thinking or having concern to the insult of other people, you have issues that have been with you," Judy Larson said. "I think you should resign because, in your heart of hearts, you are still a bigot and still don't serve all the people."

Gile, who was elected in November to his first four-year term, said after the meeting several people had offered their support. He said the low number of people who commented on his remark indicated that people who know him know he didn't mean to offend anyone.

Gile is well-known for his charitable work in Salina, including Habitat for Humanity, Child Advocacy and Parenting Services, Salina Rescue Mission and Project Salina. He received the Salina Award for Outstanding Citizen in 2009.