When Gov. LePage sits down with his Cabinet, he will be looking at very few faces familiar to most Mainers. With the exception of Finance Director Sawin Millett, who has served in two previous administrations and in the Legislature, most of the others are new to Maine government, or at least new to high-profile positions at the head of a department.

This is no surprise: It has been 16 years since the last Republican governor left office and the bench of high-ranking bureaucrats from previous administrations is thin. It’s also in keeping with LePage’s promise to change the way government works, both in its size and scope and its relationship to business.

So even at this early stage, it’s safe to say that the state agencies charged with carrying out the new governor’s policy ideas will be run by government outsiders. It is an approach that promises change, but also raises some serious concerns.

For instance, Mary Mayhew, the governor’s designee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, is correct when she says that the department needs a top-to-bottom review, analyzing the mission and efficiency of its many programs. This is the biggest agency in state government, and its labyrinthine web of relationships with contractors spread all over the state is ripe for a close study.

But Mayhew’s career highlight so far is her 11-year stint as vice president of the Maine Hospital Association, an industry lobbying group, which makes her knowledgeable about some aspects of the health care system, but doesn’t answer any questions about her ability to manage a large organization.

That’s not the case with Philip Congdon, the retired Texas Instruments executive who has been named to lead the Department of Economic and Community Development. He has an impressive background in running a big company, but admittedly no experience with small business or tourism, and has a track record in economic development he acknowledges as “thin.”

When asked by a legislator what he would do to bring jobs to Aroostook County or other parts of rural Maine, Congdon answered, “It’s a (question) I haven’t thought about.”

Well, it’s one he should ponder, and he should do so soon. There are people who depend on this arm of state government working on their behalf, and they don’t have time for policymakers to take a long time to educate themselves.

Other nominees appear better prepared. Bill Beardsley, who is best known for an unsuccessful gubernatorial race (in the primary LePage won) is on tap to head the Department of Conservation. He has previously been a college president, an electric utility executive and has run a state agency (in Alaska).

Norman Olsen, who has been nominated to lead the Department of Marine Resources, is not only a former lobsterman, but also has had a series of diplomatic jobs in the world’s hot spots, from Israel to Kosovo, that should more than prepare him for the array of competing interests in the regulation of the state’s fisheries. But he also will be a newcomer to state government here.

LePage, as a businessman and former mayor, is far from being an Augusta insider himself and came to office promising an end to business as usual.

The agencies that he says need to be thoroughly changed have been run by people who had more conventional credentials than his appointees, so it would make sense for him to look outside the usual places for the members of his team.

But despite what you may hear on the campaign trail, government is not a business and the ability to make a bureaucracy do what it is told takes some special skills.

LePage better hope that all of his nominees have a quality that doesn’t show up on a resume – being fast learners.