NYC is hiring a rat czar with a ‘virulent vehemence for vermin’

December 1, 2022

 Photo by Ludovic Bertron on Flickr

Though there may be bigger battles, New York City’s war against rats is an arduous and ongoing affair. Mayor Eric Adams has positioned himself as a sworn enemy of the scurrying horde: During his time as Brooklyn Borough President, Adams expressed his distaste for the resilient rodents. Now, as mayor, Adams is seeking a fearless lieutenant to lead the extermination effort, Gothamist reports. According to a new job listing published by the city for Director of Rodent Mitigation, the individual sought for this position–”rat czar,” says a City Hall spokesperson–will have a “Swashbuckling attitude, crafty humor, and general aura of badassery” and a “virulent vehemence for vermin.” In return, they can expect a salary of up to $170,000.

The new position, which will report to deputy mayor of operations Meera Joshi, will inherit a recent history of initiatives meant to curb the furry scourge, including a questionable rollback of garbage pickup times, bills that require the city’s Health Department to create “rat mitigation zones,” and an increase in funding for rat mitigation.

The mayor has said the city is doing less hiring as part of a fiscal belt-tightening effort. But attrition in the municipal workforce–possibly due to better job offers or the mayor’s reported reluctance to allow hybrid work schedules–may be making room for the new position, which lists “Catch and Kill” on a list of responsibilities.

The new rat czar won’t be the city’s first. Mayor Rudy Giuliani passed rat-fighting duties to his deputy, Joseph Lhota, whose arsenal included mint-scented trash bags.

And, while it won’t likely be the last of the city’s eradication efforts, it will certainly be a significant addition to an administration that hopes to be the face of rat-busting, as evidenced by a $48 t-shirt offered by the city’s sanitation department quoting commissioner Jessica Tisch: “The rats don’t run this city. We do.”

Adams hopes to make that distinction very clear. As he said recently in a statement: “I hate rats. And we are going to kill some rats. Getting our city clean and ridding our streets of these filthy creatures are key to our recovery.”


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