New York City is hiring a leader to fight against residents' common enemy: rats.
This week, the NYC Mayor's Office posted a job listing for a "citywide director of rodent mitigation," or as a city hall spokesperson dubbed it, "a rat czar." The director, who will receive an annual salary between $120,000 and $170,000, will be expected to develop strategies, manage projects and lead teams against the city's rodents.
The role's listed requirements include a "background in urban planning" and a "virulent vehemence for vermin."
"The ideal candidate is highly motivated and somewhat bloodthirsty, determined to look at all solutions from various angles, including improving operational efficiency, data collection, technology innovation, trash management, and wholesale slaughter," the job posting added.
It also said the chosen applicant will have a "swashbuckling attitude, crafty humor and general aura of badassery."
The role's more serious qualifications include an ability to "self-manage and conduct rigorous research and outreach," a "desire to be entrepreneurial with an interest in social impact" and either experience in local government or a background in a "relevant" field.
New York is the country's "second-rattiest" city, according to pest control company Orkin's most recent annual rankings. As of October, New York's sanitation department has reported more than 21,600 rat complaints in 2022, a sharp increase over pre-pandemic times.
The city is topped by Chicago in Orkin's rankings, which has held the "rattiest city" title for eight consecutive years now — but New York rodents have a special place in the cultural zeitgeist.
They frequently go viral on social media after dragging various items — most popularly, pizza — down streets and sidewalks. One performance actor, Jonothon Lyons, patrols the city's subway stations and park trash cans wearing a latex rat head.
That's no reason to keep the rats around, according to the city's new job posting.
"Despite their successful public engagement strategy and cheeky social media presence, rats are not our friends," the listing reads. "They are enemies that must be vanquished by the combined forces of our city government. Rodents spread disease, damage homes and wiring, and even attempt to control the movements of kitchen staffers in an effort to take over human jobs."
Mayor Eric Adams appears particularly motivated to find an effective rat czar. On Thursday, he tweeted an article about the position, writing: "If you have the drive, determination, and killer instinct needed to fight New York City's relentless rat population — then your dream job awaits."
This isn't the city's first rat extermination effort of 2022. In October, the New York Sanitation Department announced that New Yorkers will be fined for putting trash on the curb before 8 p.m. starting in April 2023. Currently, residents can be fined for putting their trash out before 4 p.m.
"I want to be clear: The rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement," New York sanitation commissioner Jessica Tisch said while announcing the new policy. "But the rats don't run the city. We do."
Applicants for the rat czar role must submit a resume, cover letter and three references. They also must have a New York residency within 90 days of their appointment, and be vaccinated against Covid-19 — a policy for all city employees hired since Aug. 2, 2021.
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