Diver’s family to get health insurance
The Ulster County Legislature has approved a resolution extending medical insurance for 18 months for the family of an Ulster County corrections sergeant who died during a dive team training exercise.
Legislators passed the measure unanimously and without discussion on Tuesday.
Kerry Winters, 51, a 30year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, died Sept. 22 after being found unconscious during an in-water training exercise in the Ashokan Reservoir in town of Olive.
The Ulster County sheriff’s deputies who were Winters’ colleagues on the sheriff’s dive team have survivor benefits included in their union contract. But the contract of the county corrections officers’ union, of which Winters was a member, does not, leaving Winters’ wife and two sons without heath insurance coverage.
The deputies are represented by the Police Benevolent Association, and the health care provision was negotiated in 2015. The corrections officers are represented by the Communications Workers of America.
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein proposed extending health coverage to Winters’ family in October, calling it an issue of “fundamental fairness.
The extended benefits will cost the county $5,942 for the remainder of 2016, $40,219 for 2017 and $14,747 for a portion of 2018 — a total of $60,908.
Winters was pronounced dead at HealthAlliance Hospital’s Broadway Campus in Kingston shortly after being pulled from the water. His death was ruled an accidental drowning.
The sergeant was an experienced and accomplished diver who had been on the sheriff’s dive team for 15 years.