How to Address a Designate

How to Address an Someone Appointed – Before their Term Begins?

We have new Commissioners who are appointed by County Council.  When addressing them do I write it as

—-Mr. John Smith, Commissioner
—-Mr. John Smith, Commissioner-Elect
—-Mr. John Smith, Commissioner Pro Tem
—-Commissioner John Smith
—-Commissioner-Elect John Smith
—-Commissioner Pro Tem John Smith

They are appointed, not elected, and have not taken office yet. Also –where do I seat them at a County Council meeting?  With the current commissioners?
————-– Julie, Darlington, SC How to Address a Designate

Dear Julie: How to Address a Designate

Don’t call them ‘commissioner’ until they assume office.

Don’t call them ‘-elect’.  They weren’t elected – they are simply waiting for their term to begin.

And don’t call them ‘pro tempore / pro tem’.  That refers to an official acting in the absence of the regular official … like the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate acts for the President of the Senate when he or she is away.

A better term would be ‘designate’ which they use in Washington to describe an official chosen but before his or her service begins like a ‘Deputy Secretary of State Designate’

—-Address the envelope:
——–Mr. John Smith
—-—-(Address) How to Address a Designate

—-Or if you need to specify the office:
—-—-Mr. John Smith
—-—-Commissioner Designate

—-Before officially becoming a commissioner use:
—-—-Dear Mr. Smith:
—-… or whatever honorific to which he or she is entitled to before taking office.

Before they begin their service … seat them in a good spot … but not with the current commissioners. So, to the side sounds good or in the front of the public area perhaps. It will all depend on the configuration of the seats.

Typically, former officials are seated with, but after or behind current office holders to recognize their past service. But your new commissioners haven’t completed any service yet.

– Robert Hickey  How to Address a Designate

—-See these Posts on Types of Officials:
Candidate for Office
—-—-The Honorable, Use of
—-—-The Late, Use of
—-—-Pro Tempore

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, 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 or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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