The Kensington Volunteer Fire Department has filed a lawsuit against Montgomery County, saying the decision to hand pink slips to 20 paid administrative officers was politically motivated.

In a recent round of mid-year cuts, county officials decided to layoff 20 administrative workers within the volunteer fire department. Just one non-volunteer position was eliminated in the $32 million savings plan.

Volunteers contend that the firings were motivated by their successful opposition to the suburb's ambulance fee. Voters killed the charge through a ballot initiative pushed by the volunteers.

"We strongly support the lawsuit by KVFD and its employees that challenges the county's decision to cut all funding for administrative personnel at the community based volunteer fire and rescue departments in Montgomery County," says a statement from the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association. "We had hoped legal action would not be necessary because a strong fire and rescue service in Montgomery County requires a partnership between the county, career personnel and the local volunteer fire and rescue departments and their volunteers. But the county's decision to eliminate all funding for the employees who provide essential support to the local volunteer fire and rescue departments is a devastating blow and is inconsistent with the fire and rescue partnership that's required under county law."

 No court date has been set. Both County Executive Ike Leggett and a majority of County Council members said they made the cuts in lieu of reductions to fire-response positions.