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Ex-Unemployment Office Head Testifies, Alleges Retaliation

Karyn Czar

The former head of Kentucky's unemployment office told lawmakers he was fired in retaliation for raising concerns about the state's handling of the surge in claims prompted by the pandemic.

Ex-UI office director Muncie McNamara leveled a number of charges of his own Thursday, telling lawmakers the state bungled the response to a data breach in the unemployment system and that he was scapegoated for reporting a number of problems he witnessed there.

Both McNamara and Gov. Andy Beshear have described the situation as messy and emotional, as workers tried to meet both the fast-growing demand and make changes to an outdated system.

Thursday's committee meeting itself ended in dispute, with Democrats calling out for more time to ask questions and address the matter.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is still grappling with a backlog of claims yet to be processed or finalized as coronavirus trends threaten more business closures and unemployment claims.