A department is a specific business body of a city, usually determined by the Lord Mayor. Large cities in Germany have many different departments. Each division is headed by a full-time head, who also belong to the magistrate (administrative board of the city). At the city level, the Department Heads perform similar tasks to a federal minister at the federal level, just for the city.
In the past, the responsibilities of departments have changed again and again, and tasks have been adapted to the requirements of the respective epochs. According to the Hessian municipal code, the mayor has the right to assign the city councilors their duties. Since more and more tasks of the city administration have been outsourced to municipal companies, the heads of departments have been responsible not only for the respective offices but also for the companies. Department heads are political officials and belong to the magistrate. Today they are elected by the city council for six years.