Mayor Adams Appoints NYC's First-Ever 'Rat Czar'

Mayor Adams recently appointed Kathleen Corradi as the city’s first-ever citywide director of rodent mitigation, also known as the “rat czar.” In this newly created role, Corradi will coordinate across city government agencies, community organizations, and the private sector to reduce the rat population in New York City.

One level deeper: As the citywide director of rodent mitigation, Corradi will lead and implement a unified strategy to reduce rats in neighborhoods across New York’s five boroughs, with a focus on innovative ways to cut off rats’ food sources, as well as testing and deploying new technologies to detect and exterminate rat populations.

Corradi previously worked at the Department of Education Office of Sustainability, where she handled rat mitigation at public schools. She developed New York City’s Zero Waste Schools program, the nation’s largest zero waste program that reached over 350,000 students, 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 context: The mayor’s new appointee comes amid the start of several measures the Adams administration has recently introduced to deal with the city’s rat problem. For example, the Department of Sanitation’s new trash rules went into effect on April 1. The aim of the new rules is to reduce the number of hours trash and recycling will sit on New York City sidewalks by adjusting the time of day when trash may be placed on the curb. In doing so, the city hopes to keep streets cleaner and discourage the proliferation of rats.

Under the new rules, residential buildings have up to three options, each of which would substantially decrease the amount of time waste is on the curb:

  • Place waste out after 6 p.m. in a secure container;
  • Place trash out after 8 p.m. if putting bags directly on the curb; or
  • If a building has nine or more residential units, the property owner can opt in to a 4 a.m. – 7 a.m. set-out window instead.