The German Administration is governed by law. The administration can act only when empowered to do so by law and it may not violate valid law. In cases which are not unequivocally clear from a legal standpoint, decisions must be reached by exercising due discretion. The principles of commensurability and proportionality of measures must be observed by the administration, and measures undertaken must bear reasonable relation to the intended result.
In the federal system of the Federal Republic of Germany, administration is constructed on three levels. The Federation, the Federal States known as "Länder" and the municipalities share the administrative tasks. With the exception of some matters which are dealt with on the Federation's level, the focus of administrative activities lies on the Federal States and the districts, cities and communities being under the supervision of their regional governments.
The number of public service personnel has declined considerably since German unification. In 1991, about 6.7 million persons were employed in the public service whereas their number totalled not more than 4.5 million in mid-2007. A total of 3.7 million persons were employed by central, regional and local authorities (Federation, Länder and municipal authorities). While the total of persons employed by the Federation was 474,000, the number of persons employed in the area of the Federal Railways Fund amounted to 48,000. The Länder employed 1.9 million, municipal authorities and special-purpose associations 1.3 million persons on 30 June 2007. The number of persons employed in the indirect public service amounted to 779,000.
(more information on the website of the Federal Statistical Office)