For years, Dave Newton has been making commercial cabinets and hammering out budgets for his self-run businesses.

Now the 49-year-old West Jordan man will be making policy and hammering away at municipal budgets as the newest member of the City Council.Newton, who has been a regular fixture at council meetings for the past year, was selected from among a field of four candidates to serve out the unexpired term of former Councilman Michael DeMass, who is moving. That term will expire Dec. 31, 1999.

Newton, a Salt Lake-area native, was selected by the council on a 4-2 vote over Robert Money, a former city planning commissioner who ran for mayor last year but withdrew from the race because of a physical injury.

A 1967 graduate of Highland High School, Newton learned the cabinet-making trade in his youth but went on to earn a bachelor's degree in motion picture and television production from Brigham Young University in 1977.

He also built and co-managed an ice cream and fast-food restaurant, buys and sells real estate in Utah and California, and has been the owner and manager of Newco Industries for the past 20 years.

Newton will make $9,780 a year as a council member.

Other finalists were Money, Morgen Peck and Steve Bickmore.

Mayor Donna Evans and Councilman David Plouzek both voted to appoint Money to the council, citing his long service to the city and his expertise in development and planning matters.

Other council members agreed Money would be a good choice but opted to vote for Newton, citing his regular attendance at council meetings as evidence of his community involvement.

"Qualifications-wise, it's a wash," said Councilman Brian D. Pitts, who led the push to appoint Newton to the vacant post.

Councilwoman Margaret Grochocki said she's concerned Money may have "preconceived perspectives" because of his past government involvement and suggested Newton "might bring a fresh perspective" to the post.

Once Newton emerged as the front-runner, however, the council closed ranks and voted unanimously to appoint him to the post.