OK, Couple of Questions..................... ..
1. Who owns the Apparatus and Equipment?
2. Who owns the Fire Station?
Information such as this has a huge bearing on things.
Personally, I would have a long look at EVERYTHING that impacts on the Department in it's relationship with Local Government. I happily have no experience what so ever in a situation like yours, simply because here in Maryland, Local Government involvement in Fire/Rescue services is severely limited. The Vast majority of Volunteer Fire/Rescue Organizations here own the Apparatus and Stations, not Local Government. Along with that, Mayors and Councils, Etc. have no authority over the department, and the Chief is usually elected by the Membership for a specific term of office. Requirements vary, but a certain level of training and experience must be met to hold office.