The gmina (Polish pronunciation [ˈɡmina], plural gminy [ˈɡminɨ]) is the principal unit of administrative division of Poland at its lowest uniform level. It is often translated as "commune" or "municipality." As of 2010 there were 2,479 gminas throughout the country. The word gmina derives from the German word Gemeinde, meaning "community."
The gmina has been the basic unit of territorial division in Poland since 1972, when it replaced the smaller gromada (cluster). There are three types of gminas in Poland:
Some rural gminas have their seat in a town which is outside the gmina's division. For example, the rural Gmina Augustów is administered from the town of Augustów, but does not include the town, as Augustów is an urban type gmina in its own right.
An urban gmina is normally referred to only, by the name of the city or town in question. Other types of gminas are called "Gmina X", where "X" (in the vast majority of cases) is the name of town or village in which the gmina has its seat. Term "Gmina X" featuring the name of settlement is sometimes translated into English as "X Commune".
The legislative and controlling body of each gmina is the elected municipal council (rada gminy), or in a town: rada miasta (town assembly). Executive power is held by the directly elected mayor of the municipality, called wójt in rural gminas, burmistrz in most urban and urban-rural gminas, or prezydent in towns with more than 100,000 inhabitants and some others which traditionally use the title. A gmina may create auxiliary units (jednostki pomocnicze), which play a subordinate administrative role. In rural areas these are called sołectwos; in towns they may be dzielnicas or osiedles. In an urban-rural gmina, the town itself may be designated as an auxiliary unit. For a complete listing of all the gminas in Poland, see List of Polish gminas.
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