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Archive for August, 2009

Is there an official guideline in print somewhere that states we are to address the wife of a Lt. Governor as second lady.  I have not found anything that refers to this or gives that title to a LT. Governor’s spouse.  Any information would be greatly appreciated.
— Diane

Dear Diane:
I see the spouses of many officials informally described as a First Lady to define who they are.  But it’s not a form of address. The wife of a Lieutenant Governor is most formally Mrs. (Surname), wife of the Lieutenant Governor of (Name of State). There is no title.
The only spouses of government officials I know of having official special forms of address are (1) the spouse of the Queen’s representative to a Commonwealth realm … addressed as His/Her Excellency Mrs. (Husband’s full name) in writing and inYour Excellency conversation … and (2) the spouse of the Queen’s representative to a province … addressed as His/Her Honor (full name) in writing and in Your Honor conversation.

On the website of the “First Lady of California” … Maria Shriver is referred to her as First Lady Maria Shriver … but that’s not a form of address …. its descriptive of who she is.  If you actually meet her call her Ms. Shriver (since she’s stated she prefers that to being addressed as Mrs. Schwarzenegger.)
Even “First Lady of the United States” is not an office. The wife of The President sometimes attends events as his representative, and as such is granted his precedence, but she herself has no precedence.
I’ve seen “First Lady” used in address is at some African-American churches where they address the spouse of their pastor First Lady (Surname). But using “First Lady” as an honorific is not the tradition at the White House or with other political spouses. Michelle Obama is correctly addressed as Mrs. Obama.

— Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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One thing I find missing is how one should reference a former United States Official in descriptive text or to a third party.  I notice that former Governor Huckabee is always introduced as Governor Huckabee on his TV show.  Is this correct, incorrect, or optional?  I assume it is correct to use their official titles when describing their actions in office.
— MLB

Dear MLB:
Mike Huckabee would not be referred to in the third person… as “Governor Huckabee” .. at the Governor’s Mansion, in Washington, or at either the State Capital or U.S. Capital. He’d be
“Mike Huckabee, former Governor of …” or “Mr. Huckabee.”
Perhaps the producers are concerned everyone won’t know who he is? Former officials who hold a position of which there is more than one at a time — retired judges, retired ambassadors, retired generals, retired senators, retired bishops and many others — use their “title” in every situation for the rest of their lives, but officials of which there there is only one at a time (The Governor, The President of the United States, The Speaker of the House, The Secretary of State, The Surgeon General …)  Don’t continue use of their former title … they use what they are entitled before taking the one at a time position. E.g., Dwight Eisenhower in retirement went back to “General Eisenhower”  He was no longer President.  Same with General Colin Powell … he’s no longer Mr. Secretary or “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”  Bill Clinton now uses “Mr. Clinton.”

— Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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I have a quick etiquette question  When my boss (a US Representative) is traveling overseas and meeting with dignitaries, is it proper to wrap gifts or leave the gifts unwrapped?  is it proper to open gifts upon receiving them? Thank you for your help and guidance!
— KBR on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

Dear KBR:
On official gifts “presentation wrapping” is typical. Use a two-piece box, wrap only the box’s top, don’t wrap around bottom. This style is good if the gift will be opened immediately or if security wants to inspect it.  Sometimes customs inspectors will want everything opened, so traveling with fully wrapped gifts can pose yet another problem.
Remember to consider cross-cultural issues when choosing the paper’s color and pattern, and whether or not you use ribbon.
Often gifts are not opened immediately … since it’s a distraction from the business at hand. You can just say “thank you” and leave unopened. Sometimes aides do the gift exchange and the principals are not even involved. But …. if your boss gets handed a present … and he sensed they want it opened, sometimes one just has to ask if they want it opened at that moment.

— Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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My group wants to honor and thank a former California State Senator who served our district with distinction in both the State Assembly and State Senate.  She served in the legislature until December 2008.  She was recently appointed to a paid position on a State Board, but that board is being dismantled by Legislature and Governor due to California’s budget crisis.
We are wondering how to list her on the invitations.  We do not want to affront the current State Senator, who will receive an invitation and likely attend.  They are are good friends of each other, and both are good friends of some of the leaders of our organization.  In casual conversation many of us just use first names.  Invitations will also be sent to many who haven’t been that close to the the former Senator, but almost everyone in our area considers the former senator as the best to have ever served in the position.  Here’s the text:
You are cordially invited to
Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of
(group’s name)
and to Honor
Here is where we need help. Please tell us what won’t work, what will do, and what you condsider best:
Tina Jonas
Senator Tina Jonas
Former Senator Tina Jonas
Senator Tina Jonas, retired
Honorable Senator Tina Jonas
Our Senator Tina Jonas
Our Dear Former Senator Tina Jonas
or ………………………………….
We are putting the invitation to bed next week.
Thanks in advance for your help.
— Mike Mitchell in Los Angeles

Dear Mr. Mitchell:
Refer to your guest of honor on the invitation as:
The Honorable Tina Jonas
Once an ‘Honorable’ always an ‘Honorable’.
A guest of honor may or may not be identified as to who they are … but it sounds like people getting this invitation will know who Tina Johnas is.  But, If you feel obliged to identify her you would write something like:
Former State Senator from California’s 41st District
or
State Senator from California’s 41st District, 1996-2008
In conversation (orally) she can be addressed as Senator Jonas if that’s her preference, which is not inconsiderate of the current State Senator. Positions of which there is only one at a time DON’T continue to use their honorific (governor, speaker, mayor) but positions where many have the same title at the same time (admiral, senator, professor) DO continue.
Only oddity about State Senators is that they are not addressed as Senator in the presence of a United States Senator because it is thought to be confusing. So in a room with a current U.S. Senator, she would be State Senator Jonas or even Ms. Jonas.

— Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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I am compiling a list of shareholders for our bank, and one of our shareholders is a retired army Lieutenant Colonel.  I have read your suggestions for addressing letters to the Colonel, but how would he be listed in a list?  My initial thought would be to list it as a professional designation, such as D.D.S for a dentist.  So would it be proper to use John M. Smith, LTC USA, Ret.?
— Kathy Granito, North Carolina

Dear Ms. Granito:
Don’t put the rank after his name. Correct forms (appears in my book on page 209) is civilian-style writing is:
Lieutenant Colonel John M. Smith, USA, Retired
Or  Lieutenant Colonel John M. Smith, USA, Ret.
Using the US Army service-specific abbreviation (I include these for all services on pages 94-98 in my book) for Lieutenant Colonel it would be:
LTC John M. Smith, USA, Retired
Or  LTC John M. Smith, USA, Ret.
and in conversation (direct oral address) he is Colonel Smith

— Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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I am sending a letter to each City Councilmen individually not as a group. How do I address Sue Smith, who is a member of the City Council??
— Kitty Anderson, Jacksonville, Florida

Dear Ms. Anderson:
Anyone in the US who is elected to public office is addressed as the Honorable.
Members of the a city council are usually most formally addressed as Mr./Ms./etc.  … but are frequently addressed as Councilman (name), or in Jacksonville they use Council Member (name).
So a letter would be:
The Honorable Sue Smith
Member, Jacksonville City Council
117 West Duval St., Suite 425
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Salutation would be:
Dear Council Member Smith:

— Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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NOTE: This question got to me via Jacqueline Whitmore at the Protocol School of Palm Beach .    Thank you Jacqueline.

A hypothetical situation occurred to me just recently: If His Holiness, the Pope Benedict XVI, were to meet Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, what would the protocol be? Who would be introduced to whom? Would they use titles to address each other? Would His Holiness bow his head to The Queen? Would they shake hands? FYI, I am from Australia.
— Yours Sincerely, Fred Turnhill

Dear Mr. Turnhill:
1) As to who would be introduced to whom … that’s a precedence question. Precedence is applied differently in different situations. Lets consider the meeting in different places.
i) At Buckingham Palace Her Majesty would be the “host/hostess” and His Holiness would be the “guest”. Their roles as host/hostess and guest would define who was introduced to whom.
ii) In Vatican City the roles would be reversed.
iii) On neutral turf, if each was there equally …. each as a chief-of-state (the Commonwealth & Vatican City), or each as a head of a religion (Church of England & Roman Catholic) a determination would be made as to which was higher. The decision would be based on some rational basis … who had established diplomatic relations with the host nation first … who oversees more subjects … who assumed their “office” first, etc.
iv) On neutral turf if they were attending in different roles, such as — His Holiness as head of a church -and- Her Majesty as the head of a nation, His Holiness as a ruler of an spiritual realm would have higher precedence.
The protocol professionals would negotiate all these decisions.  That’s what they do.
2) Neither would bow to the other. Only subjects bow to their monarch.
3) He would call her “Your Majesty.”  She would call him “Your Holiness.”
4) Would shake hands? I bet they would. Both are known for warm greetings and skillful interpersonal abilities. You as an Australian and a subject of the Queen may be thinking one never touches the Queen. But that’s a concept most applicable when nobility and commoners are involved, which is not exactly pertinent in this imaginary encounter!
— Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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