Duncanville, Texas – Duncanville Mayor Barry L. Gordon, the City Council, City Manager Aretha R. Ferrell-Benavides, and staff are stunned and heartbroken after learning of Assistant City Manager Paul Frederiksen’s unexpected passing on Friday, March 12, 2021.
Mr. Frederiksen was hired as the Assistant City Manager by former Duncanville City Manager Kevin Hugman in 2017. He had most recently served as the Interim City Manager while the Duncanville City Council worked through the lengthy process of recruiting a new Manager. He’d accepted the interim position during a difficult time for the world and our city. As both Interim and Assistant City Manager he led city staff through the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the winter storm that impacted Texas and neighboring states.
“When disaster was declared, Paul put his already exceptional leadership skills into action,” said Mayor Barry L. Gordon. “We were in crisis mode dealing with unprecedented critical issues around the clock. There were no days off. Not for a man who led by example. Not until our city and citizens were taken care of.”
Councilmember Joe Veracruz added, “Paul demonstrated true leadership by assembling the Department Directors, implementing an emergency plan, and continually communicating with the City Council.”
“Paul performed at an extraordinary level during his time serving as Interim City Manager for Duncanville,” said Councilmember Johnette Jameson. “His leadership through the snowstorm that caused the electrical power grid failure that left many without electricity for days was inspiring. He worked tirelessly to care for the citizens as we teetered acutely close to losing our water.”
Paul Frederiksen had dedicated his life to serving others, which is revealed through a long career in government that started with his work as a City of Dallas Planning Technician. His career path would eventually lead to his becoming the Town Manager of Argyle, Texas and ultimately bring him to the City of Duncanville where he served as the Assistant City Manager. Throughout his career he simultaneously focused on both the bigger picture and the individual citizen, always striving to create a better place for people to live, work and play. Mr. Frederiksen worked hard for the citizenry without a wish for credit or accolade.
“I am very proud to have worked with Paul in the cities of Dallas and Duncanville,” said Councilmember Patrick Harvey. “I respected him for his focus and dedication. He was kind, considerate, compassionate, and conducted himself with integrity.”
“Even prior to assuming the role of Interim City Manager, Paul consistently gave Duncanville his all,” Mayor Gordon said. “He was the dependable rock everyone looked to for wisdom, guidance, and discernment. He had the deep professional love and respect of the city council, the entire city staff, and his many peers and colleagues throughout the metroplex.”
“He was well liked, had a great sense of humor and worked with diligence to help move Duncanville forward,” Councilmember Don McBurnett said.
“Paul was an absolute joy to work with,” said Ms. Jameson. “As he conducted city business, he would reveal a dry sense of humor much like my father’s. He always made me laugh. When the Council was on the dais during meetings, he would sit on the front row of the auditorium. I always enjoyed watching his expression when something or someone provided unexpected entertainment.”
“Paul was the ultimate Municipal Government professional with knowledge in numerous areas, which made him a major resource for our councilmembers, staff, and citizens,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mark D. Cooks. “And his humor and laughter would leave me in tears during and after meetings. His untimely departure will leave a void in my heart.”
Councilmember Don McBurnett said, “The news of Paul Frederiksen passing came as heartfelt shock. This is a tremendous loss for the City Council, his coworkers, friends and family. Prayers for his family and the countless people he touched.”
“I cannot begin to express my gratitude for his dedication, leadership, and selfless efforts. His loyalty will never be forgotten,” Councilmember Joe Veracruz said. “My thoughts and prayers are with the Frederiksen family.”
“My husband, Ted Benavides, and I have known Paul for many years, and I was very excited to finally work alongside him after being given the opportunity to serve as Duncanville’s City Manager,” said Aretha R. Ferrell-Benavides. “Our city has lost a knowledgeable and dedicated public servant and I have lost a friend.”
“Our hearts are broken,” Councilmember Monte Anderson said. “Paul spent time with me talking about cities, how to be better collaborators and about life in general. He always made me laugh at our problems. He used a lot of common sense to fix things and he showed me how cities, businesses and citizens could work together. Paul was my friend.”
“His service to Duncanville will never be forgotten and will always be appreciated,” Councilmember Jameson added. “I will miss you, my friend, but I know that I will see you again.”
“There are no words that can sufficiently express the impact of his passing,” Mayor Gordon added. “We pray earnestly for his entire family for God’s strength.”
Paul Frederiksen will be remembered by Duncanville City Council and staff as a champion for our city and its residents.