CROWN POINT | Lake Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura said Friday she is delaying her departure from the bench, but only for a few weeks.
"Some people told me they think I'm not retiring and were getting excited about that, but I only need a little more time. There are no hidden agendas," Bonaventura said with a laugh Friday on her way into court where she had to personally preside over a case that she said was taking longer to wrap up that she first expected.
Gov. Mike Pence announced last month he is appointing Bonaventura head of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
"The governor's chief of staff said they really need me to start as soon as I can. I told them March would be pushing it for me, but in my excitement to start my new job right away I said March 1, thinking that would work.
"I am sad at leaving, but I thought it would be easier. I never realized how many cases I have out there and am still wrapping up after 31 years on this job. I have a hearing this morning in a special judge case I cannot hand off to my magistrates, so I asked the governor's office if I could take a week or two longer and they said yes."
Bonaventura's extended stay will also delay Lake Superior Court, County Division Judge Nicholas Schiralli's transfer to become the new Lake Juvenile judge.
Once Schiralli transfers and no other Superior Court judge changes courtrooms, the Lake County Judicial Nominating Commission will meet to fill a Superior Court judicial vacancy by accepting applications from county attorneys. The commission will chose three finalists whose names will be forwarded to Gov. Mike Pence for his appointment later this spring.