HARLEM, N.Y. (WPIX) — New York City has hired its first-ever rat czar: a former teacher who hates rodents as much as Mayor Eric Adams.
Kathleen Corradi beat out 900 applicants to become the citywide Director of Rodent Mitigation, Adams announced Wednesday.
“I knew when my wife’s grandma called from North Carolina to see if I would apply, it was meant to be,” Corradi said at a press briefing in Harlem.
Corradi previously worked on rodent reduction efforts at the Department of Education, where she focused on cutting off rats’ food, water, and shelter supplies. She plans to do the same in her new role. Corradi said getting food and leftover waste into rat-proof compost bins is a start, but broader efforts are expected.
“Rats are symptoms of systemic issues. You can’t deal with one part of the problem,” Corradi said. “This is going to take all of us.”
Adams said he interviewed Corradi and was impressed with her emotional intelligence and how she collected signatures as a child to get rid of rats in her neighborhood. But ultimately, it was her character that earned her the spot, he said.
“We have found our rat czar,” Adams said.
Adams’ administration posted a job listing for the rat czar in late December with a salary range of $120,000 to $170,000.
While rats have been a constant presence throughout the five boroughs, New Yorkers have poked fun at Adams’ crusade against the pizza-eating creatures. A recent social media video showed a long black snake slithering across a subway train with the caption: “The new ‘Rat Czar’ in NYC.”
A day after the Instagram video went viral, Corradi was charged with leading the crusade against the rodents.
“You’ll be seeing a lot of me and a lot less rats,” Corradi said.
The new appointment also comes on the heels of the new garbage collection rules that went into effect this month, which are part of Adams’ push to eradicate rats in the five boroughs. The plan also aims to make city streets cleaner by reducing the amount of time filthy, smelly trash bags can sit on the street.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.