LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Attorney and former Kentucky unemployment insurance director Muncie McNamara was found dead Sunday in Bardstown. He was 39.
McNamara died “after a battle with chronic depression,” according to his obituary published Monday evening. Police found McNamara in the parking lot of a Bardstown business early Sunday morning, Nelson County Coroner Field Houghlin said.
"We are running this as a death investigation," Bardstown Police Chief Kim Kraezig said. "There is no suspect, it's believed to be self inflicted."
The coroner, Houghlin, declined to disclose the cause of McNamara's death, saying it was pending autopsy results.
McNamara had a brief and turbulent tenure as the director of Kentucky's Office of Unemployment Insurance in the administration of Gov. Andy Beshear. As first revealed by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, McNamara was quietly fired in May 2020 after about four months on the job.
At the time, the office had experienced a data breach and complaints surged about slowed processing of unemployment claims and lengthy telephone wait times in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
McNamara had no previous experience in unemployment administration when appointed to the $85,000-per-year job, but he later told Kentucky lawmakers that he donated to Beshear’s 2019 campaign, raised money for Beshear and knocked on nearly 1,000 doors for the campaign in Nelson County.
McNamara did not leave the job quietly. He was critical of Beshear administration decisions related to unemployment in testimony to lawmakers in Frankfort last summer, and the administration snapped back, saying McNamara "exhibited unprofessional behavior toward cabinet leadership and teammates and lacked the leadership skills necessary to address the issues affecting the Office of Unemployment Insurance."
McNamara also appealed his firing with the Kentucky Personnel Board. He alleged discrimination for a medical condition, and that he was fired for bringing attention to data security and ethics issues.
The status of that appeal was not immediately available Monday night.
McNamara is survived by his wife, Audrey Haydon, and was a loving "girl dad" to two young daughters, according to his obituary.
WDRB.com reporter Chris Otts and reporter/anchor Gil Corsey contributed to this story. Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.