Office of the Constable, c/o Roger C. Metzgar, Constable, and/or Roger C. Metzgar, and/or Roger C. Metzgar, Office of Constable of Tobyhanna Township, and/or any combination of the above, Petitioners
Department of Transportation, Respondent
Submitted, February 6, 2015,
Appealed from No. 032 A.D. 2011. Department of Transportation.
Ronald L. Clever, Allentown, for petitioners.
Philip M. Bricknell, Assistant Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent.
BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI,
President Judge, HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S.
FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge.
Office of the Constable of Tobyhanna Township (Office), c/o Constable Roger C. Metzgar (Metzgar) (collectively, Constable) petitions for review from the order of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (Secretary) that denied its exceptions and affirmed the Department of Transportation's (DOT) order recalling certificates of title on two vehicles registered and titled in the name of the Office. Constable challenges the recall of the titles as beyond DOT's statutory authority under Section 1115(a) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1115(a). Constable contends that because the vehicles are used by the Office, the Office is the proper title holder. Constable seeks rescission of DOT's recall of the titles. Discerning no error below, we affirm.
Tobyhanna Township (Township) is a second-class township located in Monroe County. Metzgar was duly elected as constable for the Township in 2007. In 2009, Metzgar purchased a 1997 Chevrolet Suburban from the Department of General Services (Chevrolet) with personal funds. Initially, he applied for a title listing " Pennsylvania State Constable --[Township]" as owner. Hr'g Officer's Proposed Report, 2/28/12, at 1, Finding of Fact (F.F.) No. 2.b. However, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (Bureau) rejected the application. He then reapplied for title and registration in his name as constable. The Bureau issued the title in the name of " Roger C. Metzgar" without reference to constable. F.F. No. 2.e. Subsequently, Metzgar purchased a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria (Ford). Metzgar registered and titled the Ford in his own name as owner " because he knew that [DOT] would not issue him a title in the name of his office." F.F. No. 3.c.
In April 2011, at a licensed DOT title and tag agent in York County (Agent), three hours away from Township, Metzgar attempted to transfer the titles for both the Chevrolet and the Ford (collectively, Vehicles) from his own name to " Roger Charles Metzgar Office of Constable." Certified Record (C.R.), Item No. 23, Ex. 2 at 4. Simultaneously, Metzgar applied for municipal government (MG) license plates for the Vehicles using MV-4ST forms, indicating municipal ownership. Agent did not seek payment of fees. Agent then issued MG plates for both Vehicles and titles in the name of " Roger Charles Metzgar
Office of the Constable." Id. This purported a transfer in ownership from Metzgar to Office.
Upon discovery that the titles were issued in the name of the Office, the Bureau recalled the titles to the Vehicles. Shortly thereafter, DOT suspended the registration and MG plates for the Vehicles for the Office, and for four other offices of the constable. Constable requested an informal hearing. In October 2011, after an informal hearing, the Bureau issued a letter to Metzgar advising that the ...