How to Address a Vice Mayor

How to Address a Vice Mayor of a U.S. City?

What is the correct address and salutation for a Vice Mayor?   We don’t address members of our council as the Honorable, but we do address our Mayor as the Honorable. Are these two officials the Honorable too?
——————–– Tricia in Sacramento

Dear Tricia:
Technically anyone elected to office in a general election is the Honorable, but if your jurisdiction does not address members of the council as such — and many localities do the same — but do address the Mayor as the Honorable …. I’d extend the Honorable to the other mayoral offices for consistency.

Here’s how I’d recommend you do it:

—-Envelope or address block on letter or email:
—-—-The Honorable (full name)
—-—-Vice-Mayor of (Jurisdiction)

—-—-Dear Mr./Mrs. (Surname):

— Robert Hickey


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

Is a Former Mayor Addressed as Mayor (Name)?

I am addressing an invitation to a former mayor. How do I correctly do that??
—–– Karen Szczpanski   How to Address the Mayor of a US City

Hi Karen:
Address a former mayor on the envelope or address block of a letter with this form:
—–—–The Honorable (Full name)

On the salutation, in conversation, or if your invitation has an inside envelope use this:
—–—–Mr./Mrs./Dr./etc. (Surname)

Sometimes you will see or hear former mayors addressed as Mayor (name) but it is not correct,  Address a former mayor as Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. – whatever honorific they had before becoming (Mayor) (Name).

The reason? In a city there is only one mayor at a time. It’s not respectful to the current office holder, and is potentially confusing to be addressing more than one person as Mayor (Name).

Being addressed as Mayor (Name) is a courtesy of the office and is reserved for the current office holder. I know, I know, I know, you hear former mayors addressed in the media or referred to as Mayor (Name), but addressing a former mayor as Mayor (Name) is simply a reporter flattering the former official’s ego, or the former official seeking to continue to enjoy the courtesies due his or her former lofty post.

[This contrasts with officials of which there is more than one office holder at a time — e.g, there are many judges, ambassadors, generals, admirals, professors, senators etc. at a time — and these former office holders DO use their (Special Honorific)+(Name) in every situation for the rest of their lives.]

— Robert Hickey How to Address the Mayor of a US City

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

How to Address an Acting Mayor?

Would it be appropriate to address an acting mayor of a U.S. city as The Honorable? Do you call him Mayor (Name)?
——————-– Cheryl

Dear Cheryl:
Acting officials are not addressed as if they were the elected and inaugurated official. An ‘acting’ mayor of a city, governor of a state, or president of a college isn’t really the office holder — he or she is ‘acting’. So in a salutation or conversation use Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. (Name) and identify as the acting mayor.

The Honorable is reserved for officials elected in a general election … or those very high officials appointed by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate.

So if he/she is serving as acting mayor through an appointment … he/she would not be the Honorable … I say that with one exception: he or she might have been The Honorable due to prior elected service.

— Robert Hickey

How to Address the Vice Mayor of a US City

Is a Mayor-Elect Your Honor?

Our mayor-elect is coming to our building today. If I have the occasion to address him personally, should I call him Your Honor even though he will not take office for two months? Or is he simply Mr. (Surname) still?
——————-– Laurie in Chicago

Dear Laurie:
Address him/her as Mr./Ms. (Surname) … or with whatever honorific to which he or she used prior to the election.

He will be addressed with the forms of address due a Mayor when he takes the oath and is sworn in.

He/she is already The Honorable (Full Name) on a letter because he has been elected office, but won’t be addressed as Your Honor until he takes office.

— Robert Hickey


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

How to Address a Mayor and Spouse?

How does one address an invitation to the mayor and his wife?
—-– Susan Hensley How to Address the Mayor of a US City

Dear Susan
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

—-#2) If “the Honorable” is a man – and she uses a different family last name or has a special honorific – her full name appears:
—-—-The Honorable William Smith
—-—-and Ms. Linda Blake

—-—-The Honorable William Smith
—-—-and Dr. Linda Smith

—-#3) If “the Honorable” is a woman – his full name always appears:
—-—-The Honorable Linda Stanton
—-—-and Mr. William Stanton

—-—-The Honorable Linda Blake
—-—-and Mr. William Smith

—-#4) When person is the Honorable — they get their name as unit — not combined with anyone else’s name. So what you might want to avoid is:
—-—-The Honorable and Mrs. William Stanton

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

— Robert Hickey How to Address the Mayor of a US City

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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.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

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”