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I write and revise policy at work, and I often see the phrase "authorized designee," as in "The Chief Executive Officer or the authorized designee is responsible for ensuring . . ."

This, to me, seems redundant because designating someone to act on your behalf means that you have given them authority to do something. However, this wording is found not only in old policies we developed internally but also in policy templates we have paid for.

Would I be justified in arguing that we should instead write "The Chief Executive Officer or designee is responsible for ensuring . . ."?

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  • "Authorized" means that the appointment has followed the rules and procedures laid down in a constitution or code of practice, and perhaps given in writing, rather than an informal "you can represent us." Suppose a contract is signed: the signatory must be legally authorized to sign the document for it to be valid. – Weather Vane Nov 18 '20 at 20:18
  • Thank you for your response, Weather Vane. The word designate by itself feels formal enough to me based on these definitions: "to choose someone officially to do a particular job" (Cambridge Dictionary); "to say officially that somebody/something has a particular character or name; to describe somebody/something in a particular way" (Oxford Learners Dictionary); and "to formally choose someone or something for a particular purpose" (Macmillan Dictionary). – Ozeki Nov 18 '20 at 20:54
  • Maybe, but a judge may not agree with you if push comes to shove. There is a big difference between a Board of Directors giving authority and someone saying "you'll cover for me, won't you?" – Weather Vane Nov 18 '20 at 20:56
  • Good point about the judge. We have an early manual section devoted to defining terms. Perhaps if we define "designee" there as being officially authorized, that would suffice. – Ozeki Nov 18 '20 at 21:00
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    I think this is a question for lawyers. – Weather Vane Nov 18 '20 at 21:01
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Authorized implies a formal relationship that is not casually reversed:

Definition of authorized

1 : endowed with authority

an authorized representative

2 : sanctioned by authority : having or done with legal or official approval

an authorized biography

an authorized translation

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/authorized

The term designee does not in itself suggest an official or legal or demonstrable delegation of decision-making responsibility, and thus the adjective “authorized” is not obviously redundant.

As @WeatherVane says in a comment: “ Authorized" means that the appointment has followed the rules and procedures laid down in a constitution or code of practice, and perhaps given in writing, rather than an informal "you can represent us." Suppose a contract is signed: the signatory must be legally authorized to sign the document for it to be valid.”

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