—-#1) For offices of which there is only one office holder at a time (e.g., Prime Minister, President, Vice President, Speaker, Chief Justice of the highest court, Governor, Mayor, etc.) only the current office holder is officially addressed with the forms of address of the office. Forms of address are ‘courtesies of office’ just like the big corner office, great parking space and preferential seating at events. The courtesies stay with the office, and don’t become the property of former office holders.
Former office holders have to go back to Mr./Ms. (Surname), Congresswoman (Name), Representative (Name) … whattever was the form of address they had before taking the ‘singular’ office ….. whatever is pertinent to the office they now hold.
—-#2) Offices that are held by more than one person at the same time are different. In those cases, (e.g., Admirals, Senators, Judges, Professors, Ambassadors, etc.). former and retired individuals DO continue to use their former honorific. Having more than one ambassadors or senators always happens. They were never a singular one-and-only-of-their-type official.
—-#3) The individual is flattered by the honorific inflation. But when you ask them directly, they say ‘It’s not formally correct.’ Having been the singular office holder they know what it’s like to have all the formers clinging to the courtesies of office.
– Robert Hickey