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NYC mayor introduces city's first rat czar Kathleen Corradi: "She HATES rats"

Just over four months after a job posting for New York City's first-ever formally designated rat czar went viral online, an urban sustainability expert who currently works at the city's education department has been appointed director of rodent mitigation, the mayor announced on Wednesday.

"Our new Rat Czar Kathleen Corradi has so many strengths, but most importantly: she HATES rats," New York City Mayor Eric Adams wrote in one of several tweets introducing Corradi and her background. She has almost a decade of experience as a sustainability manager and, later, was a director of space planning at the education department's Queens branch, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

An earlier tweet from Adams included a video of the news conference where Corradi's role was unveiled and read: "New York City, meet your new Rat Czar."

While at the education department, Corradi developed New York City's zero waste schools program "and led the agency's rodent reduction efforts, coordinating and implementing pest mitigation plans across nearly 120 public schools that led to 70 percent compliance on the Neighborhood Rodent Reduction taskforce," the mayor's office said in a news release detailing her new position.

Although previous mayoral administrations in New York City have undertaken efforts to address its notorious and potentially worsening rat problem, this is the first time the mayor's office has hired an employee to focus solely on rodent reduction and lead initiatives with that goal in mind across all five boroughs. The term "rat czar" was popularized in the Big Apple during former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's administration in the 1990s, when it became the public and the media's nickname for Joe Lhota, then the deputy mayor for operations and head of the administration's rat abatement task force. 

Managing the rat population has been a priority for Adams during his time as mayor, as he inherited a city that has apparently seen a 71% increase in rat sightings since 2020, according to a city council member. 

"Fighting crime, fighting inequality, fighting rats is something that we are focused on as we continue to make this city a livable city," Adams said at a press conference last October, just weeks before the job listing seeking a "highly motivated and somewhat bloodthirsty" candidate with "the drive, determination and killer instinct needed to fight New York City's relentless rat population" initially emerged.

Some plans are already underway to hopefully reduce the number of rodents living on and around New York City streets. 

Following a widely publicized campaign to "Send rats packing!," which involved millions of flyers sent to residential addresses bearing the slogan and a now-familiar caricature of a rodent carrying a suitcase, the city's Department of Sanitation implemented a new policy beginning April 1 that prevents building superintendents from leaving bags of garbage on sidewalks before 8 p.m. 

The later time, pushed from 4 p.m., was decided in hopes that decreasing the amount of hours that trash is left outside before being collected would give rats a smaller window of opportunity to go after it.

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