Rhodri Glyn Thomas may be standing down at the next Assembly elections, but he is not going quietly. A year ago he launched a campaign to get the Welsh Government to rethink its plans to pass on Westminster cuts to council tax benefit, and he eventually succeeded in getting the government to bring forward a measure this year which will help 300,000 people. Even Kevin Madge, the leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, praised his efforts.
This week came the news that Rhodri Glyn Thomas has been instrumental in forcing the Welsh Government into another U-turn over senior council officer pay. The Welsh Government will now table proposals to set up an independent panel to control the pay of council fat cats.
There have been predictable howls of outrage from the Welsh Local Government Association and threats that in between trips to Buckingham Palace to collect their CBEs, MBEs and other gongs for loyal service, etc., etc., the deserving rich from Welsh county halls may find time to sue the rest of us for compensation.
It has also been argued that the existence of all these generous pay deals could be a major stumbling block to the overdue and much-needed reform of local government in Wales. Fewer councils would mean fewer officers, and that could mean lots of very expensive golden parachutes and redundancy packages.
Others have argued that having centralised control of senior officer pay is an attack on local democracy and the right of local councillors to reward their officers as they see fit, even though senior officer pay is already subject to national terms and conditions. Try telling that to the long suffering people of Carmarthenshire and see if you live to tell the tale.
If it is a competitive market, it's a very strange one with enormous disparities. In Wrexham only one officer earns more than £100,000 (£105,000 according to the BBC), and the roof has not fallen in yet. Carmarthenshire, by contrast, has enough big earners to fill a small bus (not that they would be seen dead on one, of course). In fact, Carmarthenshire's chief executive is either the highest earning chief executive in Wales or the second highest, depending on who's counting. The departure of Cardiff's chief executive is likely to remove any niggling doubts and ensure that Mark James finally gets the top spot.
Something the WLGA would probably also rather keep quiet about is the peculiar correlation between top earning council officers and council scandals. Carmarthenshire County Council regularly makes the news headlines despite the best efforts of its bloated PR machine, and over in Pembrokeshire the council has had a very torrid time with the press and interfering government ministers.
Rhodri Glyn Thomas has also called on Welsh local government to begin developing talent of its own rather than buying in expensive imports from England. Perhaps that might mean that counties like Carmarthenshire could in future even get chief executives who can speak Welsh, as well as costing a fraction of what we pay now.