Tuolumne County Superior Court Presiding Judge Eric DuTemple will retire from his position at the end of the year and will leave his seat to Judge Eleanor Provost.
Provost, 65, who has been on the county's Superior Court bench for about 13 of her 30 years as a judge, will officially assume DuTemple's administrative duties Dec. 31 and serve as the presiding judge for a two-year term.
"I think it's going to be a real challenge … We have no idea what we're looking at the next fiscal year," which begins July 1, she said. "We know that this fiscal year, we took quite a hit financially - all courts did."
As the presiding judge, Provost will be in charge of assigning cases to the other Superior Court judges but will continue with her own calendars.
She will also receive a 2 percent pay increase for the next two years. The base salary for a California superior court judge is $178,789 per year, according to the California Judicial Council.
A new judge has not yet been appointed to the bench and it could be a lengthy process, according to Provost.
Until then, DuTemple could continue to work for the court "semi-permanently," she said.
"We're hoping the assignments unitof the Judicial Council will send Eric here on assignment so that nothing will change," she said.
DuTemple has been a judge in Tuolumne County Superior Court since 1992, after serving as the county's district attorney.
Before she was elected to a judgeship, Provost worked as a deputy district attorney under DuTemple and Tom Marovich from 1977 to 1983.
During the Primary Election in June of this year, Provost was re-elected to the bench by an overwhelming majority. She defeated her challenger, County Counsel Gregory Oliver, with 74 percent of the vote.
DuTemple could not be reached for comment Friday.
However, the court system will still have a DuTemple present, as the judge's son, Eric DuTemple Jr., was recently hired as a deputy district attorney.