Use of Pro Tempore or Pro Tem

How to Address an (Official) Pro Tem

Pro Tempore, meaning temporary or for the time being, describes a person who is acting in the absence of the current office holder. Examples include president pro tempore, judge pro tempore and mayor pro tempore.  Often it is shortened to pro tem.

Holders of pro tempore appointments are addressed using the forms of address of the (office) only during the performance of their temporary duties.

  • Thus a judge pro tem a temporary judge serving temporarily as a judge with the consent of the parties – is addressed as a Judge or Judge (Name)  by participants when acting as a judge.
  • A speaker pro tem is addressed as the speaker when presiding over a chamber in the absense of the normal presiding officer.
  • The pattern is the same with a mayor pro tem, chairman pro tem, or secretary pro tem etc.

– Robert Hickey Use of Pro Tempore or Pro Tem

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

How to Address a Mayor Pro Tem

In my city there is a controversy on how to address the mayor pro tem. A little background information:

—-#1) Our city elects a seven-member city council. Members are addressed as Councilman (Name) / Councilwoman (Name)
—-#2) The city council elects a mayor for a one-year term. He is addressed as Mr./Madam Mayor.
—-#3) The council choose a mayor pro tem who is assumed will become mayor in the following year and acts as the mayor in the mayor’s absence.
—-#4) Our question is – what do we call the mayor pro tem?  Is it traditional for a mayor pro tem to be addressed as Mayor Pro Tem (Surname)?
—-—-—-—-– AH in California Use of Pro Tempore or Pro Tem

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

Dear A.H., Use of Pro Tempore or Pro Tem
Pro Tempore, meaning temporary or for the time being, describes a person who is acting in the absence of the current office holder. Examples include president pro tempore, judge pro tempore and mayor pro tempore.  Often it is shortened to pro tem.

Holders of pro tempore appointments are addressed using the forms of address of the (office) during the performance of their temporary duties.

When the mayor pro tem is acting as the mayor. Address as – The Mayor ‘ –or- Mayor (Surname) – not as Mayor Pro Tem (Name). 

Since your councilman was elected in a general election, he or she is entitled to be the Honorable (Full  Name).

—-Envelope or address klock on an email:
—-—-The Honorable (full name)
—-—-Mayor Pro Tempore of (Jurisdiction)
—-—-(Address)

—-Conversation & Salutation When He/She Is Acting As The Mayor:
—-—-Dear Mayor (Surname):

—-Conversation & Salutation When Not Acting As The Mayor:
——–Dear Councilman (Surname):
——–Dear Councilwoman (Surname):

– Robert Hickey Use of Pro Tempore or Pro Tem

Related Posts: --------Acting --------Candidate for Office --------Deceased --------Designate --------Elect --------Former --------The Honorable, Use of --------Interim --------The Late, Use of --------Nominee --------Pro Tempore --------Retiree

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#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)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or 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, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"