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Assistant or Associate are the mayor or the district according to the respective local and circuit systems coordinate . In Germany, the councilors report directly to the mayor, they represent him in their department. The councilors are municipal electoral officials . They are elected by the council for a term of eight years. The full-time councilors together with the mayor form the administrative board. The mayor presides and decides in the event of differences of opinion.

Their legal status and jurisdiction vary considerably between countries. According to the municipal constitutional laws ( council , magistrate and mayor constitution of the territorial states in Germany ), you are the deputy of the mayor (with the exception of Bavaria), who are assigned their own area of ​​responsibility.

Within the municipal constitution , the councilors are part of the collegial body. In addition to the tasks to be performed in this college, they are also assigned a business area.

In the German municipal code of 1935, it was stated in Section 34 (1): “The mayor is assisted by councilors as deputies. Their number is determined by the main statutes. ”The legal institution of the aldermen was thus introduced uniformly and in some cases for the first time in the German states.

Historically, the designation district deputy was also in use for the councilors, for example in Prussia (see Prussian district order from 1872 ) and later in Rhineland-Palatinate .


In the case of municipalities and municipal associations (e.g. association municipalities ) with voluntary councilors, these are elected by the directly elected representative body (designation varies in the individual countries) for the electoral period of the voting body.

Full-time councilors can be elected for up to eight years depending on state law. An election or re-election of councilors may only take place six months before the position becomes vacant and must be advertised publicly, although this is not necessary for re-election. The councilors in North Rhine-Westphalia are obliged, if there is no good reason for rejection, to accept a first and second re-election. If re-election is rejected without good cause, the councilor will be dismissed at the end of his term of office.


The first alderman is the general representative of the mayor or district administrator if he is unable to attend. Aldermen are responsible for the sub-area of ​​administration (business area) that has been assigned to them by the mayor. The other (full-time) councilors manage their department independently as permanent representatives of the mayor. The mayor can, however, issue instructions in individual cases. In return for this right of the mayor to give instructions, the aldermen have a right to speak in the city council within their area of ​​responsibility, which the mayor may not curtail.

If in the main statute specified that a single councilor, usually the First Councilor as a general representative of the mayor or chief administrative officer, is employed full, it shall be as a department head a department of the municipality or the county government allocated. The department head responsible for the municipality's finances is traditionally referred to as the treasurer .


The aldermen must have the necessary qualifications and sufficient experience for the office. This is still being specified in individual countries.

  • In North Rhine-Westphalian cities that are independent and that belong to a district, at least one of the councilors must be qualified to hold judicial office or higher administrative service.
  • In the other municipalities of North Rhine-Westphalia, at least one councilor must be qualified for a career in the general administrative service.

There are no such requirements u. a. in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, Thuringia and Saxony. Here is z. T. the must-rule a should-rule.

Number and salary

In some countries, the number of councilors depends on the size of the municipality or is determined by legal regulations. If there are no upper limits by the laws of the respective country, the number is specified in the main statute .

The pay of full-time councilors is often staggered according to the number of inhabitants in the municipality and is regulated by the respective salary laws. While senior civil servants can already hold this position in small municipalities, salaries up to grade B 10 (in municipalities with over 500,000 inhabitants) are also possible in independent cities and districts .

In Hesse, the honorary councilors on the municipal board or the magistrate only receive an allowance for expenses (often only an attendance fee, depending on the provisions of the compensation statute).

Other types of aldermen

There are also councilors at municipal umbrella organizations, such as B. the German Association of Cities and the German Association of Cities and Municipalities and in the respective countries (e.g. in Hesse, the Association of Hesse cities and municipalities), but their employment relationships are not regulated by public law.

Individual evidence

  1. German municipal code (text)
  2. In Hesse, the election period of the representative body applies to volunteers : § 39a Hessian Municipal Code (HGO) - election and term of office of the councilors
  3. § 71 GO NRW - election of the councilors
  4. § 47 Hessian municipal code (HGO) - representation of the mayor