Dubuque City Council members on Wednesday night were more united than they have been recently when they emerged from a second lengthy closed session to evaluate top staff.

Council members still have not said specifically which employee or employees is the focus of the discussions.

Mayor Roy Buol called the latest session "productive" and "headed in the right direction" after 10 p.m. Wednesday, when council members wrapped up the closed-door discussion at Grand River Center. They met at the event center this week to hold their annual goal-setting discussions. 

It's the second time this week the council has held a not-open-to-the-public discussion to evaluate the performance of one of three administrators that council members appoint -- the city manager, city clerk or city attorney. 

The discussions follow a council meeting last week in which an attempt to enter closed session to discuss employee performance fell short by a single vote. The decision split the council into two factions, neither of which would divulge the source of the dispute. 

However, council members this week appeared to approach consensus. 

"We came to a mutual conclusion," said Council Member Brett Shaw after Wednesday's closed session.

He said that after the council evaluated leadership for three and a half hours in the two sessions this week, "no change in leadership" should be expected.

Council Member Luis Del Toro said, "We are working toward finding common ground."