David Dupree, a political science professor at Victor Valley College, was selected on Wednesday to fill the director position left vacant following the recent death of longtime Hesperia Recreation and Park District board member Richard Lupton.

Dupree, who received a unanimous vote from the park board, was one of the three high-profile applicants to apply for the position. Percy Bakker, a former Hesperia mayor who also has served on the park board and Victor Valley College Board of Trustees, and Dave Holman, a former Town of Apple Valley mayor and park board member, also applied for the position.

All three were on hand to discuss their reasons for applying and to answer questions from board members during Wednesday's regular meeting at Lime Street Park.

"I, first and foremost, want to serve the community's interest," said Dupree, a married father of four who is active in park district activities. "I think the park district has been run very, very well," he added.

When asked if he would run for office again when the term expires next fall, Dupree said, "If I'm a good fit I would welcome the opportunity to go before the voters again."

Jack Hamilton, who later in the meeting was named vice-president during the annual board reorganization, asked all three what they thought about a theoretical merger of the park district with the city of Hesperia. All three suggested they were against such a move.

"I'm not a believer that bigger is necessarily better," said Dupree who added, "I don't see the wisdom in that for the district now."

The 80-year-old Bakker, who serves on the park district's foundation board, said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." And Holman, who operates an Internet-based travel agency, said he helped fight off the Apple Valley Park and Recreation District's merger with the Town of Apple Valley.

Following the appointment, Dupree joined the board to name Rebekah Swanson as the board's new president with Hamilton being named vice-president. Former board president Robert Chandler received praise for his service and was given two fishing poles from general manager Cal Camara.