Organisation of municipal administration

Municipalities are administrative units, local authorities and self-governing institutions. In their own sphere of competence, which is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, they are not bound to any directions from the state. Their work is, however, subject to a regular supervision system for municipal authorities. The City of Vienna, being both a municipality and a province, forms an exception in this context.

The federal state and provinces can also delegate certain tasks to the municipalities by federal or pro-vincial laws. This is called the delegated sphere of competence. In performing these tasks, the munici-palities are bound to the directions they receive from the state or province.

In principle, the size of a municipality or its population has no bearing on the scope and number of tasks it has to assume.

Municipalities are not only in charge of public administration; they are independent economic entities (according to sec 116 of the Austrian Federal Constitutional Act) and as such may also contribute to the general economy by running their own industrial and commercial enterprises.

Mandatory bodies at the municipal level

Organisation chart of the mandatory bodies at the municipal level

According to the Austrian Federal Constitution (sec 117), the above bodies must be established in every municipality. The so called "mandatory bodies" carry out tasks at municipal level.

Further bodies performing municipal tasks may be provided for in the municipal codes or city statutes, which technically are provincial laws.

Municipal council

Municipal councils are general representation bodies elected by the citizens of a municipality. Detailed regulations on council elections are set out in the municipal codes for each province.

The municipal council is the main decision-making body of a municipality. In carrying out tasks pertaining to the municipality’s own sphere of competence the other municipal bodies are responsible to the municipal council.

Its main tasks include adopting the municipality’s budget and preparing the municipality’s final balance.

Municipal board (city board, city senate)

The municipal board is elected by the members of the municipal council, and is colloquially referred to as the "municipal government". Essentially it is a preadvisory body for all decisions to be taken by the municipal council, though it is also vested with limited decision power. In cities, the municipal board is called the "city board", while in chartered cities, like Vienna, it is known as the "city senate".

The mayor

The mayor is elected by the municipal council or - if the respective provincial constitution provides for direct elections - by all citizens entitled to elect the municipal council. The mayor of the City of Vienna, however, cannot be elected by direct suffrage because she/he is also governor of the Federal Province of Vienna.

The mayor is answerable to the municipal council for all matters within the municipality’s own sphere of competence; in matters pertaining to the delegated sphere of competence he/she is subordinate to the relevant federal and provincial bodies and is subject to their directions.

Municipal council office (city council office, city administration)

The municipal council office is in charge of the municipality’s conduct of business. It is subordinate to the mayor and the municipal council.

In cities, the municipal council office is called the "city council office".

15 cities in Austria have their own statutes. In these "chartered cities", the tasks normally performed by the district commissions are taken over by the relevant municipal bodies, and the city administration takes the place of the municipal council office.

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City of Vienna | Executive Office for General Matters
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