WELLSBORO - Tioga County will lose two judges within months of each other.
County Court of Common Pleas Judge Robert E. Dalton Jr. has announced he will retire Jan. 7, 2014, and District Magisterial Judge Brian Edgcomb, who hears cases brought in the Cowanesque Valley area before they go to county court, will retire after 14 years at the end of September.
Dalton, who has served as president judge in Tioga County since 1992, said he is "ready to retire, and wants to enjoy life," said court administrator Nancy Clemens.
He was retained in 2011 and his term would have expired in 2022, she added.
"It was been an honor and privilege to have served the citizens of Tioga County for almost 22 years. Although I am retiring as president judge, I hope to continue to serve the county as a 'senior judge' on a reduced basis, as needed," Dalton said in a news release issued Monday.
Clemens said court proceedings will continue.
"They will likely send us senior judges to handle the caseload," she said.
Edgcomb, 62, said he started his career in law in 1973 as a probation officer in Potter County and has served as district judge since 1998.
He said he gave the court 90 days' notice that he would be leaving but doesn't know who, if anyone, will be appointed to take his place until a new judge can be elected.
According to Clemens, Edgcomb's cases might have to be divided up between the two remaining district judges - Judge Rob Repard in Wellsboro and Judge James Carlson in Mansfield.
"Or the governor could appoint someone to fill in three days a week until the general election, such as what happened when District Judge Phillip Sweet retired," she said.
Edgcomb said he offered to come in one day a week as a senior judge until someone else can be found but hasn't heard if that offer will be accepted.