Former Kentucky unemployment director dead at 39

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Muncie McNamara/WHAS
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/WHAS) – The man fired as head of the state unemployment office after just five months in the job and as the unemployment rolls were surging at the start of the coronavirus pandemic has died.
Muncie McNamara, a lawyer and former executive director of Kentucky’s unemployment insurance program, has died at the age of 39.

According to his obituary, McNamara died on Sunday, March 7 “after a battle with chronic depression.” He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Houghlin Funeral Homes in Bardstown is handling his funeral which is scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. Visitation is on Thursday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

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McNamara’s case brought criticism on several fronts. He had no experience with the employment system and was overwhelmed by the record surge in unemployment that came with the pandemic and the resulting business shutdowns.

He had close ties to Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, who personally offered him the job, according to media reports. At the time of his firing, McNamara defended his performance.