WANT to work for the governor? If so, you'd better get...

salmagundi

June 12, 1995

WANT to work for the governor? If so, you'd better get your stylebook updated to conform with the quirks and Marine Corps mentality of the governor's chief of staff, Major Riddick, who has put out a detailed list of do's and don'ts for staff members to follow when writing to the governor or when responding to constituents on behalf of the governor.

Here are just some of the guidelines from his nine-page correspondence:

"Whenever possible, letters and memoranda are to be on one page."

"Do not start paragraphs with 'I' or 'we.' "

"Do not start sentences with 'however' or therefore.' "

"No one sentence paragraphs."

"No one paragraph letters."

"Do not use contractions (i.e., use 'I will' not 'I'll')."

"Do not use abbreviations."

"Do not date letters until after they have been signed."

"The date should be centered at the top of the letter."

"Always close the letter with 'Sincerely.' "

"Emphasize the positive. Whenever possible, turn a 'no' into a 'yes.' If that is not possible, provide useful advice, direction and assistance."

"Keep the tone upbeat, understanding and helpful."

"Add a personal touch. The addressee should know that the Governor is interested in the issue and in the person who wrote to him. For example, if a letter is received from a student, a mention of his studies would be appropriate."

"In explaining issues, remember that the addressee may be less familiar with them, so avoid the overuse of technical jargon."

"The final paragraph should thank the person for contacting the Governor and offer to be of assistance on that or any other matter. Give the name, address and phone number of the person most familiar with and responsible for the subject matter in case the addressee wishes to follow up. Suggested language is: 'Thank you again for your letter. If I may be of further assistance on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me or [appropriate name and agency] at [applicable phone number]."

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