Today Mecklenburg-Vorpommern consists of six administrative districts and two self-administrating cities. The smallest units of local government administration are the communities, which, according to the constitution of municipal government, also include the towns. Most of the communities are bundled in departments. These departments settle administrative matters for their member communities. However, 38 towns and communities in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are district-affiliated but independent in the sense that they are not subordinate to such departments. Since the district reform in 2011 these also include Neubrandenburg and the Hanseatic cities Greifswald, Stralsund and Wismar that are classified as “large district-affiliated cities”. They perform additional functions that are otherwise assumed by the districts. Moreover, there are 766 district-affiliated communities and 78 departments (status quo: August 2011).
The tasks of the communities are performed by the municipal representatives and the mayor. The administrative districts are responsible for cross-municipal tasks or such tasks which surpass the capacity of the departments and the communities belonging to the administrative district. Such tasks are for example the responsibility for secondary schools, vocational schools and hospitals as well as waste disposal and processing. The legislative bodies of an administrative district are the district parliament and its district administrator.
The highest bodies for political decision-making and the adoption of resolutions in the administrative districts, departments and communities are the district parliament, the department committee and the municipal or town council. They are elected democratically and also control administration.
District administrators, the department heads and mayors are the legal representatives of the bodies in question. Department heads and full-time mayors are at the same time the directors of administration. Honorary mayors of communities which belong to a department are their legal representatives and also assume the chairmanship in this representation.