A department head is a temporary official who is elected by the respective local parliament of a city or municipality. At the municipal level, the department head performs similar tasks as a federal minister at the federal level or a state minister at the state level. The head of department heads a specific department, usually determined by the mayor, such as central services, finance, social affairs, or construction.
In almost all federal states the full-time department heads in cities and municipalities belong to the municipal or administrative board, in Hesse they belong to the magistrate. The exact official title of department head differs in Germany depending on the federal state and function.