New York City hires its first-ever ‘rat czar’

Posted On Thu, April 13, 2023 By

Posted On Thu, April 13, 2023 By In City Living, Policy

Image courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

New York City has finally found the rat vanquisher it’s been looking for. Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday appointed Kathleen Corradi as the city’s first-ever director of rodent mitigation, also referred to as the “rat czar.” Corradi, who will earn $155,000, will work with city government agencies, community organizations, and private sector companies to effectively reduce the rat population across the five boroughs.

“Rat mitigation is more than a quality-of-life issue for New Yorkers. Rats are a symptom of systemic issues, including sanitation, health, housing, and economic justice,” Corradi said.

“As the first director of rodent mitigation, I’m excited to bring a science- and systems-based approach to fight rats. New York may be famous for the Pizza Rat, but rats, and the conditions that help them thrive will no longer be tolerated – no more dirty curbs, unmanaged spaces, or brazen burrowing.”

As the citywide director of rodent mitigation, Corradi will spearhead strategies to reduce the number of rats in NYC neighborhoods, focusing on ways to cut off food sources as well as testing and implementing new technologies to scope out and eliminate rat populations.

Corradi brings more than 10 years of program development, facilities operations, and community engagement experience to the table. In her former position with the Department of Education’s Office of Sustainability, Corradi created NYC’s Zero Waste Schools Program, the country’s largest zero-waste program that included initiatives to tackle rodent infestations within public schools.


The program reached over 350,000 students and was implemented at roughly 120 public schools, leading to a 70 percent compliance rate with the Neighborhood Rodent Reduction task force.

After conducting a nationwide search for the czar, the Adams administration decided that Corradi had the “right mix of experience and determination,” according to the New York Times.

On Wednesday, Adams also announced the city’s $3.5 million investment into the creation of the “Harlem Rat Mitigation Zone,” a rat reduction plan covering Manhattan Community Boards 9, 10, 11. The zone encompasses 28 NYC Housing Authority properties, 73 NYC Parks locations, almost 70 DOE schools, and more than 10,000 private properties.

As part of the work in Harlem, private properties will be inspected for rats twice a year, while city locations will be inspected once a month. NYC will also offer “rat academies” for residents of Community Boards 9, 10, and 11, where they can learn more about how to prevent rat infestations in their properties.

The additional funding will also allow task forces to amplify existing rat mitigation work and test emerging technologies, including rat ice, rat slabs, new baits, traps, sensors, fumigation machines, and more, according to an official press release.

“New York City has done a lot recently when it comes to fighting public enemy number one: rats. But it was clear we needed someone solely focused on leading our rat reduction efforts across all five boroughs, and today I’m proud to announce Kathy Corradi as New York City’s first-ever ‘rat czar,'” Adams said.

Adams continued: “Kathy has the knowledge, drive, experience, and energy to send rats packing and create a cleaner more welcoming city for all New Yorkers. Beginning with this $3.5 million investment toward rodent mitigation in Harlem, Kathy will take the lead on our multi-agency effort to test new mitigation techniques, expand outreach and education efforts, and increase maintenance and remediation work. The rats are going to hate Kathy, but we’re excited to have her leading this important effort.”

The city published a job listing last year seeking an individual who had a “swashbuckling attitude, crafty humor, and general aura of badassery,” and of course, “a virulent vehemence for vermin.”

Last week, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene posted a notice that identified eight neighborhoods as part of “rat mitigation zones.” The designated areas have shown high levels of rat activity and include Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, Grand Concourse in the Bronx, and Chinatown, the East Village, the Lower East Side, and Harlem in Manhattan.


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