Fentress chamber hires new director following firing of former boss

JAMESTOWN – The Fentress County Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director.

Leann Smith, long-time tourism and membership director for the group, was given the nod this week by the chamber’s board of directors. She takes over for Walt Page, who was terminated in recent weeks following a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation  (TBI) inquiry and subsequent indictment for theft over $1,000.

Smith has nearly seven years experience at the chamber and is a Certified Tennessee Tourism Professional, a graduate of Leadership Fentress County and a graduate of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives Institute, among other items. Former office administrator Misty Stephens was also promoted – to Smith’s former position as tourism and membership director.

Page, according to TBI agents, allegedly misused his chamber-issued credit card to make personal purchases dating back to 2012. The investigation revealed he used the card to buy a washing machine for his home, jewelry for his wife Susan, Christmas decorations and gifts, wine, online movie accounts and several other personal items.

Page, 69, Clarkrange, served as Fentress County chamber director for six years prior to his firing March 28. He also served as the UC’s representative on the Tennessee Tourism Committee, which reports to Gov. Bill Haslam. There was no word if anyone has or will fill that seat.

Page has a June 16 court date, he said. He declined to comment further on the charges.

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