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Lt. Governor Coleman under fire for hiring friend's husband for state job

Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 19:07:58-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Transparency. That was a talking point on Gov. Andy Beshear's campaign trail with his running mate now Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman.

Now, Coleman is under fire for hiring a friend's husband for a state job he didn't have any experience in, according to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

KYCIR looked into the hiring of 38-year-old Bardstown attorney Muncie McNamara as executive director of the office of unemployment insurance. The in-depth investigation revealed McNamara had no experience with unemployment systems or state government before taking the job, but he earned $15,000 more than his predecessor.

KYCIR found that McNamara's wife, Audrey Haydon, considers Coleman a 'good friend' according to an interview with the Kentucky Standard.

McNamara also donated to the Beshear-Coleman campaign.

He was fired from his job four months later. LEX 18 reached out to Coleman and McNamara for comment and neither returned calls.

When asked about the situation during his Monday press briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear responded, "Now, it didn't work out. And it got very, very messy in the end. I think it got very emotional in the end. Aside from that, I don't have firsthand knowledge of any of the rest of it."

Late in the afternoon on Monday, a spokesman with the Education & Workforce Development Cabinet issued the following statement.

"The Lieutenant Governor has been friends with Mr. McNamara’s wife for several years. Mr. McNamara was hired from a pool of candidates because he was qualified for the job. He had previous public service in Maryland and had practiced in Social Security disability, workers’ compensation and personal injury.
Mr. McNamara’s concerns were not a factor in his firing. In regards to his termination, we do not comment on personnel matters."