How to Address U.S. City & County Officials

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    Christian Orthodox       
    Christian Orthodox        
Acting Official       
Adjutant General     

Admiral, Texas Navy   
Adventist Minister       

Archbishop, Catholic        
   Christian Orthodox        
Archdeacon, Episcopal        
Ambassador, Goodwill
Ambassador of one country
   to another country      
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to another country
   by a U.S. citizen       
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to the U.K.  
American Indian Chief        
   U.S., State / or           

Assistant Secretary
Associate Justice,
   U.S. Supreme Court          
Associate Justice of a
   State Supreme Court
Attorney General           
Attorney General,
Attorney, U.S.         
Australian Officials    
Awards, Name on an

Baron, Baroness           
British Officials,
   Royalty, Nobility     
Brother, Catholic
   Christian Orthodox          
Bishop, Catholic            
   Christian Orthodox         
Bishop, Episcopal        
Board Member     
Brigadier General       
Business Cards      

Canadian Officials    
   USA, USAF, USMC     
Certificate, Name on a 
    Federal Reserve      
Chaplain in the
    Armed Services        
Chaplain of Congress          

Chargé d’Affaires         
Chief Executive Officer 
Chief Judge          
Chief Justice,
      U.S. Supreme Court 
Chief Justice, of a State
      Supreme Court             

Chief of Police          
Chief of Staff     

Chief Operating
City Manager
Clergy & Religious
Club Official          
Colonel, Kentucky      
Colonel, USA, USAF,
    or USMC     
Commissioner, Court     
Commodore of a         
      Yacht Club         
Congressman, U.S.               
Congresswoman, U.S.   
Consul and or
   Consul General   
Corporate Executive         
Counselor (Diplomat)      
County Officials       
    U.S. Military
    U.S. Officials
    Private Citizens    
    Same Sex

Dalai Lama          
Dean, academic            
Dean, clergy            
Deceased Persons        
Degree, honorary      
Delegate, U.S., State

Deputy Chief of Mission
Deputy Marshal

Deputy Secretary      
    Pro Tempore      
Diploma, Name on a   

District Attorney
Doctor, Chiropractor     
Doctor of Dentistry
Doctor of Medicine              
Doctor, Military           
Doctor of
   Veterinary Medicine          
Doctor, Optometrist   
Doctor of Osteopathy            
Doctor, Other Disciplines     
Doctorate, honorary      

Elect, Designate
Pro Tempore      
Esquire, Esq.       

First Names, Use of
   Formal / Informal     
First, Second,
   Third , etc .        
First Lady, Spouse
   of the President of
   the United States 
First Lady, Member
    of Her   
    White House Staff      
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Governor
   or Lt. Gov.    
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Mayor    

First Lady
   of a Church      

First Lieuten
Former Officials    

Gay Couple      


Goodwill Ambassador      
Governor General         
Governor, Lieuten
Governor, Lt., Spouse   

Governor, Tribal Council          
Governor, U.S. State       
Governor, Former    
    Spouse of     
Governor's Staff,
    Member of
Governors, Board of 

High Commissioner    
Honorable, The
Honorary Ambassador       
Honorary degrees
Honorary doctorate
Honourable, The

Indian Chief         
Inspector General    
Interim Official   
   Writing &  
    Writing &

Judge, former     
Judge of US City

     County or State     
Judge, US Federal            
Junior, Senior,
    I, II, III, etc

Justice, Associate

     Supreme Court

Justice, Associate

     Supreme Court


Late, The
   (deceased persons)
Lesbian Couple    
Lieutenant Colonel,     
   USA, USAF, USMC      
Lieutenant General,
   USA, USAF, USMC      

Lieutenant Governor    

Major General,
Man, business
Man, social
Marquess / Marchioness
Married Women       
Marshal for a
   Judicial District, U.S. 
Mayor, U.S. City   
Mayor, Canadian City    
Mayor Pro Tempore
Mayor, Vice    
   Protestant Clergy       
   Christian Orthodox     
Most Reverend, The        
Mother Superior
Mr. (Social)      
Mr. (Business)      
Mrs., Ms. (Use, Social Forms)      
Mrs. vs. Ms.     
Mr. & Mrs. / Couples   

Name Badges or Tags     
Nobility, UK/British
Nobility, Other & Former     
Nun, Catholic
Nun, Orthodox

Officer, Police     

Pastor, Christian Clergy  
   Christian Orthodox  
   Ecumenical Patriarch
   of Constantinople  
People with Two Titles      
Petty Officer
Place Cards            
Plaque, Name on a    
Police Chief
Police Officer                     
Pope, Catholic
Pope, Coptic
Postmaster General         
Presbyter, Orthodox
President, corporate
President of
    College or
President of a
President of a
    US State Assembly 
President (current)
   of the U.S.A.          
President (former)
   of the U.S.A.     
President of the
    U.S.A., spouse of  
    of the U.S.   
Priest, Catholic          
    Christian Orthodox 
Priest, Episcopal        
Prime Minister
   & Academics         
Pro Tempore,
   Elect, Designate    


Ranger, Texas        
   U.S., Federal           
   U.S., State            
Reservist, Military      
Retired Military
   1. Formula For
       How to Address     
   2. Use of Rank by
       Retired Military    

   3. Q&A on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
Reverend, The
Right Reverend, The         

Same Sex Couple      
Salvation Army    
School Board Member
   U.S. Department,
   Member of the Cabinet
   of Defense, U.S.       
Secretary, Assistant       
Secretary General
   of the U.N.            
Senator, U.S., Federal       
Senator, U.S., State         
Senator, Canadian       
Senior, Junior,
     I, II, III, etc.         
Senior Judge 
Sergeant at Arms
Seventh Day
     Adventist Minister       
Sister, Catholic       

Solicitor General      
Speaker of the U.S.
   House of
Spouse of the
    President of the U.S.       
Spouse of the
    Vice President
    of the U.S.           
Spouse of an
    Elected Official            
State Attorney     
Surgeon General          

Texas Ranger        
Titles & Forms of
    Address, Useless?        
Tombstones, Names on
Town Justice
Town Manager       
The Honorable     
Tribal Officials     
Two Titles,
    Person With

Under Secretary       
US Attorney
US Federal Officials
US State Officials     
US Municipal Officials

Venerable, The        
Veteran (not Retired)         
Very Reverend, The         
VFW Officer/Official    
Vice Mayor       
Vice President
    of the U.S.
Spouse of the
    Vice President
of the U.S.
Vice President-elect
    of the U.S.      
Viscount and/or

Warrant Officer       
White House Staff    
Woman, business        
Woman, social        

Yacht Club Officer      


How to Address U.S. City
& County Officials

Questions & Answers, Frequently Asked Questions, and Blog

Site updated by Robert Hickey on 23 March 2020

How to Address a Letter to a Mayor?         
How to Address a Letter to a Mayor & Spouse?        

How to Address a City/County Manager / Adminstrator?     
How to Address an Acting City/County Administrator?      

How to Address a County Executive?    

How to Address a Letter to a City or County Council Member?                   
How to Address a Clerk of a City or County Council?         

How to Address a Member of the School Board?             

How to Address Municipal Officials Who Are Not Elected?             
How to Address an Local Political Party Officials?          

How to List an Elected Official in a Program?       

Looking for Joint Forms of Address? (Two Names in the Address)
Link to Q&A just on Joint Forms of Address

How Do I Address a Former Official?
Link to Q&A /Blog just on Former Officials  (not Military)

All about The Honorable
Link to Q&A just on officials in the U.S. addressed as The Honorable

How Do I Address People Who Work for The City
But Were Not Elected to Office?

Dear Mr. Hickey:
I will be addressing envelopes to municipal officials and would like to do that correctly. Please tell me how to address the administrator of utilities or engineer for the municipality.  Thanks much.

    --- Vicki Cassidy

Dear Ms. Cassidy:
    Anyone who is appointed or simply hired for their job -- which (I am assuming) includes an engineer or administrator -- is addressed as:
              Mr./Ms./Dr./whatever (full name)
          (Title of office held)
    Only elected officials and judges are addressed as "the Honorable"
          -- Robert Hickey

How to List More Than One Elected Official?    
   How does one list the governor and the mayor in a program for an event at which they will be speaking. I found the forms of address in you book, but just not sure if that's what I should use on a program?
           -- Susan in Honolulu

Dear Susan:
    Use this formula:
         1) In the program list their names in the order they will speak
         2) List them using the official form of their name
         3) Identify their office after their name.

Welcome Remarks
The Honorable (Full Name), Governor of the State of Hawaii
The Honorable (Full Name), Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu

         -- Robert Hickey
     I don't think it's necessary to list their offices. Everyone will know who they are. O.K?
           -- Susan in Honolulu

Dear Susan:
   You are right, sometimes offices are not included because those present may know who they are. But programs also serve as keepsakes and as a record of the event. Often to include / not to include offices, date, year, and location are made with posterity in mind.

How to Address the Clerk of a City Council?
    I am sending our Annual Report to the Clerks of the City Councils of the surrounding cities. How would I address the envelope and the greeting in the letter?

    -- Janine Steele

Dear Ms. Steele:
     Usually clerks are appointed.
If they are appointed ... then on the envelope they are:
          Mr./Ms. (full name)
            Clerk of (insert the name of the body here)
    and the salutation is:
          Dear Mr./Ms. (surname):
                         -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a Member of a School Board?
    When addressing a letter or writing a salutation of a letter, is a member of school board addressed as The Honorable?

           -- P. Green

Dear P. Green:
    School boards -- if elected -- are technically eligible, but whether they are or are not addressed as
The Honorable is by local tradition: Where I grew up, in Arlington, Virginia, the school board is not addressed as The Honorable ....  I now live in New York City where they are.  Call your school board's office and find out what's the tradition in your jurisdiction.
             -- Robert Hickey

How to Address Local Officials and Political Party Officers?
     We are mailing formal invitations to a local charitable event, and there is some disagreement on use of “The Honorable.” Do the following get "The Honorable":
      Local officials such as Commissioners - ?
      Local political party chairpersons - ?

           -- TEW in Nevada

Dear TEW:
      Local political party chairpersons ... no
      Local officials .... if elected ... yes
      Local officials .... if appointed ...
             -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a Letter to The Mayor?
Dear Mr. Hickey:
    I need to write a letter to our Mayor. How do I address the envelope? When I met him I called him Mayor Neville, which is what everyone calls him.
         --- Renee Montgomery

Dear Ms. Montgomery:
     In conversation, either Mr. Mayor or Mayor (surname)
is good. Mr. Mayor is the more formal option since using just the title of an office is always the most formal.
    Address the envelope line-for-line like this:
        The Honorable (full name)
            Mayor of (city)

        Open the letter with the salutation:
            Dear Mr. Mayor:
      Or as I mentioned, a slightly less formal option would be:
            Dear Mayor (surname):
       Close the letter with:
            Renee Montogomery

                      -- Robert Hickey

How to Address an Someone Addressed as
"The Honorable (Full Name)" and His/Her Spouse?
   How does one address an invitation to the mayor and his wife?
        -- Susan Hensley

   I need to address our elected sheriff and his wife. Is it: The Honorable and Mrs. James Smith?
        -- Agnes Harrington

   How do I address a senator and her husband?
        -- J.K. in Virginia

   How do I address a judge and and her husband?
        -- Ann Buchanan

Dear S.H, A.H. and J.K.:
I cover how to every type of elected official and spouse in Chapter Nine: Joint Forms of Address.
What all these U.S. officials have in common is that they are addressed on an envelope as the Honorable. None of you mentioned their names ... so here are the formulas.
    (1) If "the Honorable" is a man and if his spouse uses (Mrs.) + (same family name), then traditionally her given name does not appear:
       The Honorable William Stanton
        and Mrs. Stanton
    (2If "the Honorable" is a man and If she a different family last name ... then her full name does appear:
       The Honorable William Smith
        and Ms. Linda Blake

    (3)  If "the Honorable" is a woman his full name appears whether he uses the same or different family name:
       The Honorable Linda Stanton
        and Mr. William Stanton
        The Honorable Linda Blake
        and Mr. William Smith

    When person is the Honorable -- they get their name as unit -- not combined with anyone else's name. So what you want to avoid is:
       The Honorable and Mrs. William Stanton
    (4If the spouse has her own rank, courtesy title, or some special honorific, and does not have higher precedence, then both get their full name:
        The Honorable (full name)
        and Lieutenant (full name)
       The Honorable (full name)
       and Dr. Linda Stanton
        The Honorable (full name)
        and the Reverend (full name)

    Probably more answer than you wanted ... but I hope it is useful.

         -- Robert Hickey

How to Address the Mayor and City Council?
    What is the proper salutation when addressing a Mayor and multiple city council members in the same letter?
    Do I write?
        Honorable John Smith and Athens City Council Members
      Mayor John Smith and Athens City Council Members.
Then as a salutation:
       Dear Mayor Smith and Athens City Council Members?
     I have to have the letter for signature in the morning, and it's my first day on the job.

                  -- Thank you, Tonyalee in Athens

Dear Tonyalee:
     It would be best to address a letter to actual officials rather than addressing
one by name and the others by their office.  I'd prefer you address it to the Mayor (by name) and find out the names of the members of the City Council so you could use them.
    BUT trying to answer what you've asked with the info you provide .... Here's a nice option

ENVELOPE and ADDRESS BLOCK on the letter
        The Honorable John Smith, Mayor of Athens
        and Members of the Athens City Council
        Athens City Hall
        301 College Avenue
        Athens, State, ZIP
          Note: For symmetry, Athens mentioned in both name/titles

        Dear Mayor Smith and Members of the City Council:
            Note: For symmetry, Athens mentioned in neither
                    -- Robert Hickey

Hi Robert,
      Well, I finally got the word to send out those letters with the Mayoral and City Council Members salutation. The best part of the story, is that my boss came to me to ask if I was sure I had the proper salutations? And of course, I gave her a very broad smile, and as I printed out your answer, I explained how wonderful you were to reply to my email. Of course she was delighted with me....and you! She took the printout and I assume went to her boss with the backup proof. The letters were sent on Thursday.
     Thank you!

How to Address City Manager or County Administrator?
     I was wondering if you could assist me with something?  I have a new City Manager of the City of Montgomery, coming in to visit our company this Friday.  Would he be The Honorable?  If I was to put his title on an agenda how would I format it, possibly as I have stated below?
     The Honorable Edvin Perez
     Montgomery City Manager

           -- Shelby in Aerospace

    Is our county administrator The Honorable just like a mayor?
           -- Marc in Michigan

Dear Shelby & Marc:
      City managers and administrators are NOT The Honorable ...  because because they were hired/appointed by the elected body ... the city council ... but were not themselves elected.  
    Only the elected officials get  The Honorable.
    So address them as:
        Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. (Full Name)
        (Name of Job) (Name of Jurisdiction)

             -- Robert Hickey

How To Address an Acting or Interim County Administrator?
     What is the proper form of address in a letter to an Acting County Administrator? It is an appointed (not an elected) position. Also, should the salutation be Dear Mr./Madame Administrator, Dear Mr./Madame Acting Administrator, Dear Mr./Ms. Administrator or what?
     -- Beverly Shaw, Russell City, California

     How do I address an interim county CEO?  Is an interim county CEO addressed as "The Honorable"?
       -- PM

Dear Ms. Shaw and PM:

    I give the forms of address for this office in my book's chapter on forms of address for Municipal Officials, but here is the quick answer. This appointed official is most formally addressed:
        Mr./Ms. (Name)
    and identified by his or her position:
        Acting County Administrator
        Interim County CEO
        Interim County Executive
    Appointed officials are not addressed  as The Honorable based on being a county executive. The use of the courtesy title The Honorable is reserved for individuals elected in a general election.   E.g,, mayors of cities (which are all elected) are addressed as The Honorable.
     Acting officials don't get to use the honorifics of the office in which they temporarily serve ... they are just identified as "the acting."  E.g., an acting mayor is not addressed as Mayor (Name).
    Don't use Mr./Madame (Office)  in any context.
    I don't think I've ever encountered a County/City Administrator, CEO or Manager who used their office as their honorific.  Sometimes a Chairman of a Board or Council is addressed as Chairman (name) in the context of their duties ... but it's more situational -- for clarity -- than it is official.
    So, back to your official. On an envelope and address block write:
        Mr./Ms. (Full Name)
            Acting County Administrator or other title

    And in the salutation write:
        Dear Mr./Ms. (surname)

                     -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a County Executive?
          I wonder if you could tell me how I should address a county executive.
          -- JM in Area Code 206

Dear JM,
          Some county executives are elected in a general election. So they are addressed as:
                    The Honorable (Full Name)
                            County Executive, XYZ County

          Others are appointed / hired by the county board. So they are simply:
                     Mr./Ms. (Full Name)
                             County Executive, XYZ County

          So – you will have to find out how your particular county executive got into office!
          You use the same formula (without the address) in an formal introduction.
          In conversation, informal one-on-one introduction, and a salutation both elected and appointed are addressed as Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. (Surname).

(whatever honorific to which they are normally entitled).
         Although someone might say the County Executive will be here in five minutes, that is not a form of direct address.  County executive is not formally used as an honorific as part of the person's name.
          -- Robert Hickey

Not Finding Your Question Answered?
(1) At left is a list offices/officials covered and (2) below are other topics covered in my blog. Between the two I probably have what you are looking for.
     But after checking both lists if you don't see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day (unless I am traveling.)
      If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – but I always change the names and specifics.
      -- Robert Hickey

Mr., Miss, Jr., III, & Names        
Married Women       
Deceased Persons         
People with Two Titles
Post-Nominal Abbreviations and Initials         
Sequence Post-Nominal Abbreviations: Sr., Jr., etc.    
Couples: Private Citizens / Joint Forms of Address 
Couples: U.S. Military / Joint Forms of Address     
Couples: U.S. Officials / Joint Forms of Address      

Former Officials            
Professionals and Academics        

United States Federal Officials, Currently In Office             
United States State Officials, Currently In Office              
United States Municipal Officials, Currently In Office             
       All About The Honorable with U.S. Officials         
       Former United States Officials of all types             
United States Armed Services
       Addressing Active Duty Personnel              
       Addressing Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Veterans      

Tribal Officials 
Clergy and Religious Officials           
Canadian Officials         
Australian Officials          
British Officials, Royalty, and Nobility        
Diplomats and International Representatives
Foreign National Officials and Nobility        

Author's Name on His/Her Book       
Business Cards, Names on
Introductions, Names in
Invitations: Names on
Invitations: Names of Armed Service Personnel on        
Name Badges & Tags            
Names on Programs, Signs, & Lists            
Naming a Building or Road            
Place Cards            

Plaques, Awards, Diplomas, Certificates, Names on    
Precedence: Ordering Officials 
Tombstones, Names on      

Site updated by Robert Hickey on 23 March 2020


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Robert Hickey is the author of Honor & Respect:
The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address
Published by The Protocol School of Washington®
Foreword by Pamela Eyring

Available in   Hardcover   /  Kindle   /  Apple Book

Copyright © 2020 Robert Hickey.     All Rights Reserved.
Book Photo: Marc Goodman.

All information on is copyright © 2020 by Robert Hickey. All rights reserved.
The Protocol School of Washington® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Honor & Respect is dedicated to Dorothea Johnson, Founder of The Protocol School of Washington®