LePage accepting job applications, will name more team members

Posted Nov. 22, 2010, at 6:08 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Gov.-elect Paul LePage plans to announce on Tuesday an expansion of his transition team as applications for jobs in his new administration pour in by the hundreds.

LePage, who becomes Maine’s first Republican governor in 16 years when he’s sworn in in January, will announce that his transition team will grow by nearly 40 people, said Dan Demeritt, communications director for the transition effort.

A big part of the appointees’ jobs will be to sort through applications that have been filed by people interested in serving in the new administration. The transition team members, who will work on a voluntary basis, also will “provide input into policy proposals for the incoming governor and help identify the skill sets and characteristics needed to fill key positions in the LePage administration,” Demeritt said in announcing the news conference.

Demeritt said the number of applications for administration jobs was approaching 1,000. He said applicants offer a wide range of skills, from highly qualified to some just entering the work force.

LePage has invited those interested in serving to apply through his www.lepagetransition.com website.

The transition team has three co-chairmen and a small staff.

The governor-elect also has appointed a bipartisan team of 10 advisers who are helping shape a new two-year budget.

As he succeeds Democratic two-term Gov. John Baldacci, LePage will appoint new Cabinet members who head state departments as well as scores of other executive branch positions. Roughly 150 appointees’ jobs are to be filled as Baldacci officials are replaced by LePage appointees.

The transition effort moves forward as members of the first GOP-controlled Legislature in more than three decades chooses their leaders for the 2011-12 session. The newly elected lawmakers, who will be sworn in Dec. 1, will elect three high-profile officials — attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.

GOP members also have the numbers to elect Rep. Robert Nutting of Oakland as House speaker and Sen. Kevin Raye of Perry, both Republicans, as Senate president.

Republicans already have made a number of key staff and support appointments that traditionally go to the ruling party. Alison Sucy, who has been chief of staff in the House Republican Office since 2001, will be chief of staff for the new House speaker.

Diane Johanson, a 17-year veteran of legislative service, will be chief of staff in the House Majority Office. Johanson’s sixth-great grandfather, Col. Isaac G. Reed, was a member of Maine’s Constitutional Convention in 1819-20, served in the Legislature and designed the Maine State Seal, according to the House GOP office.

Heather Priest, who has worked on legislative staff for 16 years, has been nominated by the Republicans to be the new clerk of the House. The clerk formally reads matters before the House and advises the speaker on parliamentary procedure.

The Senate secretary’s post will be filled by Republican Joseph Carleton, a lawyer who also served in the House.

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