ELYRIA — Elyria Municipal Court Judge Lisa Locke Graves doesn’t want to continue working until a ripe old age. Rather, she wants to enjoy as much of her retirement as she can.
On Friday, it was announced that she planned to retire by the end of September.
“I have been a public servant for 30 years,” Locke Graves said. “I served half my career in the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office and my other half here. I still have four years left on my third term, but my husband is a little bit older than I am, and he’s going to retire. We simply want to retire and enjoy life as long as we can and make the most of it.
“I don’t want to be one of these people who retires and something horrible happens the next day.”
Locke Graves said she knows she could get “hit by a car,” but she would like to give herself “the longest period of time.”
While her last day will officially be Sept. 29, she won’t be leaving the court at that time.
“I have been working with the Ohio Supreme Court to be appointed as a retired assigned judge, a lot of times it’s referred to as a visiting judge,” she said. “I have been appointed to sit by assignment until my successor is appointed.”
The process of finding her replacement is cut and dry, according to Locke Graves. A committee will be formed by the Lorain County Republican Chairwoman Helen Hurst. The committee will conduct interviews with qualified candidates who are interested in the job and send three names to Gov. John Kasich, who will choose her replacement.
Locke Graves said she’s done some research and has found that Kasich has usually taken between 8 to 12 weeks to appoint a person to a vacant seat once he has the list of candidates. She said it took him 12 weeks while he was running for president, so she expects her replacement will be named about two months after the governor receives the list of candidates.
While she is open about retiring, Locke Graves hasn’t officially turned in her resignation.
“I’m going to, but (the process of replacing her) can’t really start until I submit these things, and I have until three days before I vacate to give that notice,” she said. “I’m certainly not going to wait until 72 hours before; I’m working on it now.”
Locke Graves said there are qualifications a person interested in replacing her on the bench must meet.
One is the candidate must live within the jurisdiction of the court, which includes Elyria, North Ridgeville, Grafton, LaGrange, Elyria Township, Carlisle Township, Columbia Township, Grafton Township and LaGrange Township.
“The person also has to be licensed to practice law in the state of Ohio for at least seven years,” Locke Graves said. “They also have to be in good standing with the Supreme Court, so no disciplinary actions against them.”
Locke Graves expects to officially retire by the end of the year, though she still plans to be around.
“I’m going to come back as a visiting judge,” she said. “I’ll be the visiting judge until my successor is appointed, but I plan on working as a visiting judge in this court, and other municipal courts, for a number of years.”