New York City is on the hunt for a pied piper. This week, city officials announced that they’re looking to hire a dedicated rat czar that will lead the charge in rooting out the persistent vermin. The job will pay as much as $170,000 a year but requires a “general aura of badassery,” according to the city’s own job description.
The listing was posted Wednesday by the office of the NYC Deputy Mayor of Operations. The official job title is the Citywide Director of Rodent Mitigation, and candidates are expected to have ample amounts of grittiness.
“Reporting to the Deputy Mayor for Operations and in the Mayor’s Office at City Hall, the Citywide Director of Rat Mitigation is a 24/7 job requiring stamina and stagecraft,” the listing reads. “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.”
Other qualifications for the job include but are not limited to: being an NYC resident, having at least a bachelor’s degree, past experience with government, urban planning or project management, proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and a “swashbuckling attitude, crafty humor, and general aura of badassery.” The salary range is from $120,000 to $170,000.
New York has long been known for its rat and mice residents. And though the city streets are hardly swarming with rodents, they remain a regular eyesore, as anyone who’s taken the subway at night can tell you. They can also still occasionally spread disease, as demonstrated by an outbreak reported in NYC last year of the rare but dangerous leptospirosis, which is usually spread by rat urine. Late last month, scientists even announced finding variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus among NYC’s rats (animal-to-human transmission of covid-19 isn’t a major concern currently, but its sustained presence in rodents and other wild animals does create the risk that more dangerous strains could one day emerge from these reservoirs).
There have been increased reports of rat sightings in the past few years, though it’s not completely clear whether their numbers have actually grown or if people are more watchful than they were before—a possible side effect of having abandoned and then returned to their social lives during the pandemic. But as cute as they might be carrying pizza down the stairs, rats still are a real pest worth being vigilant about. So NYC’s rat czar has plenty of work ahead for them.