Use of Pro Tempore or Pro Tem

How to Address an (Official) 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

Dear A.H., Use of Pro Tempore or Pro Tem
When the mayor pro tem is acting as the mayor. Address him or her as – The Mayor – not addressed 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 & Address Block:
—-—-The Honorable (full name)
—-—-Mayor Pro Tempore of (Jurisdiction)

—-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):

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.

– Robert Hickey Use of Pro Tempore or Pro Tem

—-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

The Protocol School of Washington (PSOW) was founded in 1988 and offers open-enrollment, classroom-based programs where students learn to become a licensed Intercultural Etiquette and Protocol Trainer, or can earn a certificate in operational protocol by completing Protocol Officer Training. Private, on-site training is also available to provide tailored training solutions. In 2020, PSOW launched online, instructor-led training to meet the needs of students worldwide.

PSOW has offices in: Washington, DC; Columbia, SC; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The school is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and provides international protocol, cross-cultural awareness, business etiquette, and image training preparing professionals to build lasting business relationships.


Protocol and Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association promotes the protocol profession and raises awareness of its central role in business and diplomacy through education and networking. PDI-POA’s mission is to share the highest level of collective expertise, training, information and advice regarding accepted rules of protocol. PDI-POA is committed to facilitating communication, understanding and cooperation among individuals, governments and cultures around the globe.