New York City Mayor Eric Adams (L) announces the appointment of former school teacher Kathleen Corradi (R) as the city's first-ever director of rodent mitigation, also known as "rat czar." Photo courtesy of the City of New York
April 13 (UPI) -- New York City has named its first-ever "rat czar" to tackle the Big Apple's growing rat population, which has become a "major quality-of-life and health issue."
New York City Mayor Eric Adams appointed former school teacher Kathleen Corradi on Wednesday as the city's first director of rodent mitigation, or "rat czar."
"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,'" said Mayor Adams.
"Kathy has the knowledge, drive, experience and energy to send rats packing and create a cleaner more welcoming city for all New Yorkers," Adams added.
Corradi will be responsible for creating a rat mitigation plan, while coordinating city agencies to detect rats, cut off their food sources and exterminate them.
New York City records show rat sightings increased dramatically last year with almost 21,600 rat complaints through the end of September, which was an increase of 74% over the same time period in 2020.
In December, the city advertised its search to fill the new "rat czar" position, posting tongue-in-cheek requirements for a candidate who must be "highly motivated and somewhat bloodthirsty" with a "swashbuckling attitude, crafty humor and general aura of badassery."
In addition to Corradi's appointment, the mayor announced a $3.5 million investment to reduce rats in what is called the new Harlem Rat Mitigation Zone. The money will go toward 19 full-time staff and 14 seasonal staff, in addition to bait, traps, sensors and fumigation machines. The money will also be used to harden floors in public housing to prevent rat burrowing.
"Rat mitigation is more than a quality-of-life issue for New Yorkers," Corradi said. "Rats are a symptom of systemic issues, including sanitation, health, housing and economic justice."
"As the first director of rodent mitigation, I'm excited to bring science -- and a 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," Corradi added. "I look forward to sending the rats packing."