Mayor Adams Taps Education Exec as City’s First Ever “Rat Czar”

Adams declares rats “public enemy number one.”

| 12 Apr 2023 | 05:31

The city’s first ever “rat czar” has finally been revealed.

At a ceremony at St. Nicholas Park in Harlem, Mayor Eric Adams appointed Kathleen Corradi to the city’s first ever citywide director of rodent mitigation. Even the mayor’s press release touted Corradi as the “rat czar” who will charged with coordinating rat fighting across city agencies.

The job pays $155,000 a year and Adams, the rat hating mayor, said he demanded a “bloodthirsty” executive committed to “wholesale slaughter” of rats in his advertisements for the post.

Corradi, is a former elementary school teacher who was most recently an executive in DOE’s office of sustainability, where she developed a zero waste program for the city’s 350,000 public school students and led the agency’s rodent reduction efforts in the city’s public schools.

The city recently added Harlem as one of only two rat mitigation programs in Manhattan. The other rat mitigation zone is an area that includes the East Village, Chinatown and the Lower East Side.

As part of the new effort in Harlem, Adams said he was designating $3.5 million that is to be divided between four city agencies involved in fighting rats: the DOE, the NY City Housing Authority (NYNCHA), the Sanitation Dept. and the NYC Dept. of Small Business.

While there are only two “rat mitigation zones” in Manhattan other areas have also received special attention. The city used a carbon monoxide pump to clear tunnels that rats had burrowed along E. 86th St from Lexington to Second Ave.

The city has also moved to make the time when curbside garbage can be deposited on sidewalks later in the day in an effort to curb the time that rats could dine on the discards.

One of the placards where the announcement was made specifically noted that people who spread bird seed for pigeons also add to the rodent problem. “Feed a pigeon, feed a rat,” says the headline on one of the anti-rat posters on display at the press conference.

“Kathy has the knowledge, drive, experience and energy to send rats packing and create a cleaner more welcoming city for all New Yorkers,” said Adams at the press conference introducing her.

He had earmarked $3.5 million to tackle the problem in the newest rat mitigation district in Harlem.

“Rat mitigation is more than a qualify-of-life issue for New Yorkers,” said Corradi. “Rats are symptoms of systemic issues, including sanitation, health, housing and economic justice...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 conditions that help them thrive will no longer be tolerated–no more dirty curbs, unmanaged spaces or brazen burrowing.”