Aretha Ferrell-Benavides Honored By National Forum of Black Public Administrators
GLENN HEIGHTS—It is safe to say that Aretha Ferrell-Benavides has taken the city to new heights since she took the helm in July, 2014.
It is no surprise that recently the Glenn Heights City Manager was nationally recognized. She received the award not only for her outstanding work locally, but for her outstanding public work throughout her career.
Ferrell-Benavides was honored in Little Rock, Arkansas with a lifetime of leadership award from the National Forum of Black Public Administrators (NFBPA). The National Conference or 2017 FORUM was a setting that boasts former President William “Bill” Jefferson Clinton as the gala’s keynote speaker.
The National FORUM of Black Public Administrators presented Ferrell-Benavides with the esteemed ‘Marks in Excellence Award.’ She admits that at the event she was surprised when her name was announced.
“They do not announce the winner until the event,” she said. “They also do not discuss the nominees.”
The only award of its kind, it is presented at the Marks of Excellence Gala during the 2017 FORUM.
The Marks of Excellence Award is bestowed upon an African American Public Administrator who has achieved extraordinary success in the field of public management. This endeavor is also coupled with a caveat that the honoree must also demonstrate an unselfish commitment to the community.
Glenn Heights’ council-member Ron Adams said concerning the award, “We are so proud that our City Manager was given this high honor. It speaks to the quality and integrity of our leadership.”
Glenn Heights’ council-member Emma Ipaye added to that “We are so very proud of you.”
With over 25 years of professional experience at all levels of government, Ferrell-Benavides is the ideal honoree recipient. Prior to her current post in Glenn Heights, she also held high level positions in Washington, DC, Sunnyvale, CA and Chicago, IL.
She was presented the award by the President of NFBPA, Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore. He was joined by President-Elect, Jelynne LeBlanc Burley and past award winner Dr. Calvin Jamison, Vice President of the University of Texas at Dallas.
Past recipients include Public Administrators from around the country, including the former Fort Worth City Manager Robert ‘Bob’ Terrell.
History of Leadership
The first Marks of Excellence Award was given in 1984. She got involved with the organization as a freshman in College at Southern University.
“I was first introduced to NFBPA by my mother who was a member of the organization,” she explained. “Not only did I join at an early age, I became actively involved and by graduate school was elected as the student representative on the Board of Directors. My journey in the organization included serving as Chapter President in Chicago and Vice President of the Council of Presidents.”
Ferrell-Benavides remains the only member to move from student representative to ultimately serve as the 17th National President.
In 2002 she was the NFBPA Young Public Administrator of the Year Award.
NFBPA is a professional membership organization that promotes the advancement of Black leadership in the public sector. Since 1983, membership has grown to virtually all disciplines represented in state and local governments.
In addition to public service professionals, the association’s membership embraces students, deans, faculty as well as corporate executives.
“This is a wonderful honor. To receive from an organization that has been a part of my life for so many years,” Ferrell-Benavides said. “I appreciate the support the organization has given me throughout my career.”
The first Marks of Excellence Banquet was the concluded the four day conference. It’s first awardee was Dewy W. Knight, Jr, Deputy County Manager of Metropolitan Dade County, Florida.
Others winners include:
Robert Bobb, Former City Manager of Oakland, CA; Richmond, VA and Washington, DC
Regina V.K. Williams, Former City Manager of San Jose, CA and Norfolk, VA
Floyd T. Johnson, Former City Manager Fort Lauderdale, FL and Broward County
Major F. Riddick, Former Chief of Staff to the Governor of Maryland
Anthony W. Hall, Former Houston, TX Chief Administrative Officer
Anita R. Favor Thompson, Former Tallahassee, FL City Manager
Harry L. Jones, Fr, Former Mecklenburg County Manager
Michael C. Rogers, Former DC City Administrator
Robert ‘Bob’ Terrell, Former Fort Worth, TX City Manager