New York City is recruiting a new “director of rodent mitigation” to rid the streets of its most notorious furry inhabitants.
The city’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Operations published a job listing for the position, aka “rat czar,” on Wednesday.
“Do you have what it takes to do the impossible?” asks the listing. “A virulent vehemence for vermin? A background in urban planning, project management, or government? And most importantly, the drive, determination and killer instinct needed to fight the real enemy – New York City’s relentless rat population?”
The director of rodent mitigation will report to the deputy mayor for operations and the Mayor’s Office at City Hall, according to the listing. And the job requirements are … unusual.
The city is seeking someone “highly motivated and somewhat bloodthirsty,” with both “stamina and stagecraft.”
And you’ll need a “swashbuckling attitude, crafty humor, and general aura of badassery.”
The director will collaborate with a variety of different government agencies to combat the rat population, including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Parks Department, the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Education, the Department of Sanitation, and the Department of Transportation.
The successful candidate will be the public face of the city’s fight against rats. But this isn’t just an office job – they’ll also be expected to “lead from the front, using hands-on techniques to exterminate rodents with authority and efficiency.”
The salary for the city’s lead rat authority ranges from $120,000 to $170,000, according to the listing. Interested candidates can send their resumes, cover letters, and three references to the city’s online application portal.
It’s unclear exactly how many rats call the Big Apple home. An oft-repeated urban legend tells us that the city has more rats than people (or over 8 million). But a 2014 study led by statistician Jonathan Auerbach and based on rat sightings reported to the NYC hotline estimated that there were only around 2 million rats in the city.
The rodents represent a public health challenge for the city: They can contaminate food and spread diseases like leptospirosis, according to the NYC Department of Health website.
The term “rat czar” seems to date from a nickname gifted by local New York newspapers to Joe Lhota, who served as deputy mayor for operations under Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Mayor Eric Adams has launched a concerted effort to combat the city’s famous rat problem. At a much-memed news conference in October, Adams joined Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch for an announcement that she said, “rats are absolutely going to hate.” Adams and Tisch announced that they would limit the number of hours residential and commercial trash can sit on the curb before it’s picked up.
“The rats don’t run this city,” the commissioner said. “We do.”
And in November, Adams reiterated his personal vendetta against the vermin.
“I hate rats,” said the mayor at a Department of Sanitation news conference at which he signed four new pieces of legislation to help keep the city clean. “And we are going to kill some rats.”