Shannon Whitfield

Walker County's recently elected Commissioner Shannon Whitfield is well underway to shaking things up in county government. That includes splitting the many duties once held by Walker County Coordinator David Ashburn, who is no longer involved with local government.

"I have appointed Blake Hodge as the fire chief/emergency management director, which will include managing our 911 center," Whitfield said. "Chief Hodge’s diverse experience will provide us with solid leadership of our Walker County Fire Department."

Commissioner Whitfield said other roles that Ashburn was responsible for — planning and zoning , codes enforcement, county police — will be filled by others. But he will retain one managerial position.

"This will be David Ashburn's last week as a Walker County government employee, but I fully support David being the manager at the Walker County Water & Sewer Authority," Whitfield said, adding he "very much looks forward to working" with Ashburn and the Water & Sewer Authority.

Whitfield said he plans to fill the vacant seats in the planning, zoning, and codes departments.

"It could be someone already existing on staff, or it may be additional hires being made soon," Whitfield said.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at