There is not much left of local democracy in Carmarthenshire, and the Appeals Committee is to all intents and purposes the only remaining body in which ordinary, democratically elected councillors can challenge and overturn decisions made by unelected officers.
It will come as no surprise to hear that the officers would dearly love to abolish the committee, and several attempts have already been made to send it off to the great archive in the sky.
Members of the public and council staff who feel that council officers have made unfair decisions in certain areas can appeal to their elected representatives and ask for the decisions to be overturned. Most of the cases which come before the committee involve decisions by the Education Department to refuse free school transport to children, but occasionally the committee also hears appeals against dismissal.
Membership of the committee is restricted to just seven of the 74 elected councillors, and unusually committee members who cannot attend meetings for one reason or another may not nominate a substitute. Currently there are three Plaid Cymru members, two Independents and two Labour members.
For members of the public exercising their right to appeal against decisions they consider unfair, the Appeals Committee is hugely important, and the appeals process means having to complete paperwork, taking time off work and travelling to Carmarthen to appear in person. Committee members are under a strong moral obligation to take their work seriously, therefore.
Despite this, and despite being vice chair of the committee, Calum Higgins, Labour's student councillor for Tycroes, often has more important things to do.
Yesterday's meeting kicked off at 10 o'clock with no sign of Calum, and no apology for absence. On the agenda were four appeals against decisions not to provide free school transport.
Calum sauntered in at 12.10 as proceedings were drawing to a close, saying that he had been helping one of the four cases heard that day.
One of the Labour members turned to a Plaid councillor to say, "He's standing for the Assembly", referring to young Calum.
"No, he isn't", the Plaid councillor replied, before explaining to the Labour councillor that Calum is hoping to represent us all in Westminster as a Labour MP in 2015.
"What him? Good gracious", came the reply of the bemused Labour councillor who clearly has not been keeping up with the goings-on in their own party.