Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has hired Joe Legge as Walker County's new public relations director. Legge will be tasked with improving citizen awareness of county government activities through various forms of media.

"I've established this position with the objective of keeping the citizens informed, as well as making government more responsive to the citizens. I feel very fortunate that we were able to find someone with Joe's caliber to fulfill this role," stated Commissioner Whitfield. "I believe this will help increase citizen participation, pride in our communities, and will continue my commitment for a new direction and future for Walker County."

Legge's more than two decades of media experience includes positions in television, radio and newspaper. He most recently served as News 12 Now's morning anchor, following a stint as noon anchor and political reporter. Legge also worked behind the scenes producing newscast and special reports, scheduling guests, assisting with reporter assignments and managing social media outlets.

"I am thrilled Commissioner Whitfield placed his trust in my abilities to improve communication within Walker County," said Legge. "While reporting the news, viewers put their trust in me to provide them with essential information. I believe my journalism background and passion for government operations will prove valuable as Commissioner Whitfield works to make Walker County government more open and transparent."

Legge graduated from Middle Tennessee State's University's College of Mass Communication with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Over his career, he's earned various awards from the Associated Press, William Randolph Hearst Foundation and Southeast Journalism Conference for excellence in writing, reporting and anchoring. In 2009, Tennessee's governor recognized Legge's special report on public and private efforts to address obesity with a Shining Star Award.

He continues to serve on the Ooltewah Youth Association board and has volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army and other non-profit organizations.

Legge begins his new assignment January 19.