A couple of year ago the Thurston County Democrats became a "membership organization," but not really. We started accepting "members" to our organization, but we never really gave them a role. We let them talk at meetings, but not actually vote. So, what's the point?
Well, apparently there was some fear that there would be a take over of the party, that just by paying dues, you could get in and make decisions. This put fear in the hears of duly elected PCOs, who felt it was there role to run things. There are though only a few roles for PCOs as outlined in state law, all other local party stuff is open.
So, I have a compromise for this year's reorganization of the party. Members still can't vote, but if they do enough for the party, organize a group of fellow Dems, work on a committee, etc... They can.
I outlined my proposal here at a moreperfect wiki under Article 2.
My rational is basically that the PCO position itself is archaic. People don't organize themselves by geography anymore, but rather socially. This is true in politics as much as it is true in economics or religion. We are more mobile than we were one hundred years ago, we shouldn't limit our local part organizations by a neighborhood based system that was developed before the telephone, television, internet or interstate highway.