Mayor Andy Berke admitted at a press conference this afternoon that he had previously given secret decoder rings to members of his staff for communication purposes, raising concerns about transparency and the ability to fulfill open records requests.
“Although we stopped using the rings and threw them away, as far as I know, the city of Chattanooga has no policy that disallows the use of such decoder rings,” said Berke.
Each member of Berke’s staff was assigned a different colored ring, and to begin each daily staff meeting, members would bring their hands together so that their rings would form a rainbow, according to an inside source.
Berke would then declare, “Berke Team Rainbow Seven, commence!” and the staff would clap their hands once in unison, before making an “X” with their forearms and tilting their heads down briefly.
Berke also admitted to using lemon juice as ink for certain written communications and encouraging the use of “leetspeak.”
At the end of the press conference, Berke said some words that were undecipherable by the audience.
“Etslay etgay theway ellhay outway ofway erehay, acystay,” said Berke.