The code will not cover county legislators or other elected county officials. However, on Monday legislators decided to have staff draft an ordinance that gives their stamp of approval to the document.

The Jackson County executive Monday signed an order creating the first-ever code of ethics to govern all county business.

The order, signed by Executive Mike Sanders, will establish guidelines for county employees.

A violation could lead to up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both.

“After countless hours of work, this document is a crucial step forward in preserving the public’s trust and faith in the work that goes on in this building,” Sanders said at his state of the county speech last week. “The public expects, and should demand, that all of the county‘s business be conducted in the open and with the highest ethical standards.”

Sanders first proposed the code when he took office in January 2007. He chose William Eckardt, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, to help draft the document through a task force of citizens. After countless revisions, Sanders finally signed the 56-page document.

The code will not cover county legislators or other elected county officials. However, on Monday legislators decided to have staff draft an ordinance that gives their stamp of approval to the document.

Voters in 2010 could get a chance to apply the code to all county officials, Sanders has said.

The code gives detailed definitions of numerous words such as “benefit,” “associated,” and “confidential information.”

The purposes outlined in the order are to state principles of ethics that are to be applied in public service; identify minimum standards of ethical conduct for public servants; require public servants engage in ethical practices; encourage public servants to pursue the highest ethical ideals they can achieve; provide a process that public servants may identify and resolve ethical issues; inform public servants and the public of the minimum standards that servants must adhere; promote public confidence in the integrity of servants; encourage members of the public to seek employment and serve on public boards; and establish penalties for public servants who violate the public trust.