The borough of Dessau was first mentioned in 1372. The head of the town called "Schultheiss" was constituted by the count. Together with a few assessors the "Schultheiss" formed the town council. As of 1372 the town council was divided into two agencies, as of 1600 into three agencies and as of 1785 again into two agencies. The "Schultheiss" of Dessau changed nearly every year until the town council constitution was cancelled in 1832. Afterwards Dessau became a Town Council and a Town Delegation Constitution. Since 1852 the town leader is called Mayor. During the National Socialist period the Mayor was appointed by the party ( NSDAP ). After World War II the Soviets formed an executive council with a Mayor. The town council constitution was elected by the people. Since German reunification this committee is freely elected. Since 1994 it has been called "Stadtrat". Since 1994, the Mayor is directly elected by the people.