Pete wrote in his first post above, "The effective date has always been the date that the last required information was sent by the measurer." I agree. But what does this mean when the measurer is a certifier? The "last required information" to be sent by the measurer/certifier is the certificate & map. Thus, it means that the effective date is the date when the certifier sends the certificate & map to the Vice Chair -- which actually matches the initial version of the proposal that Gene sent by email, rather than the somewhat toned down version at the top of this thread.
In his 2nd post in this thread, Pete wrote that he doesn't want us "passing laws right and left." There is no need to pass any new laws. We already have a perfectly good rule defining effective date in the USATF Rules of Competition which you can download at http://www.usatf.org/About/Competition-Rules.aspx
-- namely, Rule 240.3b which reads as follows:Effective date: Certification is effective as of the date that all measurements and necessary adjustments are submitted as evidenced by the postmark, although the actual review and approval of the certification may be at a later date.
(And please don't get hung up on the word "postmark" which can be interpreted as applying to other transmission methods besides postal mail.)
There is no doubt that this rule applies when the measurer is a non-certifier, who must submit data to a regional certifier. But there seems to be debate about whether it applies when the measurer is a certifier. I contend that it applies to all of us. It's actually somewhat curious: Although we pride ourselves in following uniform procedures and a system of "checks and balances," a lot of people want certifiers to have the authority to write "effective dates" that haven't been confirmed by any sort of "postmark" -- i.e., verifiable transmission of data that someone else in RRTC can verify.
Now, to say exactly what sort of policy I prefer. I actually prefer Gene's earlier (stricter) statement that was transmitted by email, namely, that in case #2, "The Effective Date would be the date the certificate is signed and mailed to a Vice Chair." The more lenient statement at the beginning of this thread urges certificates to be mailed in a "timely" manner, but doesn't specify how timely they need to be. However, both versions suffer from the defect that when timing is tight, certifiers may be induced to lie, as Mike indicated.
Therefore, I prefer the stricter statement that was in the email, but
with a provision for cases when timing is tight. In particular, the measurer/certifier can simply send an email to the Vice Chair when measurements and adjustments have been completed, even though the map & certificate haven't been prepared yet. This email would serve the purpose of a verifiable ("postmarked" type) communication, consistent with Rule 240.3b. Then, when the certificate is prepared, which may be after the race date, the certifier can use the date of the email as "effective date," thereby entering an effective date earlier than the signature date, and being totally honest.