I had lunch last week with an old friend whose husband has been without a job for a few months after his company severely downsized and laid off much of its staff.

Good news, he’s found a job. He will be joining the ranks of Dallas’ 23 other Office of Environmental and Health Services sanitarians. You know, the guys that are responsible for making sure that people aren’t smoking in bars?

Training for this job is supposed to take six months. Six months to learn how to write tickets to bar patrons smoking and the owners that let them. That seems a little excessive, although, I hope weight lifting is part of the six-month program, because something tells me this guy is about to be more hated than a meter maid.

While I’m glad this guy has a job, I find it interesting that while the city is facing a severe budget deficit, its expanding staff. If these new sanitarians write enough tickets to pay for themselves, they don’t cost the city anything.

The Texas law that prohibits ticket quotas only applies to peace officers, justices of the peace, and county and municipal court judges, so in theory, the city could get away with making the sanitarians have quotas to pay for themselves.