AGAWAM — Four days into the job, Mayor Christopher Johnson said he feels good about being back in office. The first few days have been mostly meetings. Before talking with Reminder Publishing, Johnson attended a meeting with the Agawam School Department’s nurse leader, talking about the countrywide nurse shortage.

“We’re trying to fill our needs, get quality school nurses into the system,” he said.

He’s already spoken with City Council President Rosemary Sandlin, who was elected by the council on Jan. 2. He said he’s enjoyed working with her. Even earlier, he spoke with School Superintendent Sheila Hoffman and other school administrators. On Jan. 9, he will have his first School Committee meeting at Agawam Junior High School, 1305 Springfield St., Feeding Hills, where they will have a presentation on school safety.

Johnson won the mayor’s office in the November 2023 general election with 53% of the vote. Former Mayor William Sapelli declined to run for reelection. Johnson said that Sapelli worked until the last minute to ensure he didn’t leave a lot behind.

“Sapelli did a phenomenal job,” Johnson said. “I am more than appreciative to come into what I’m coming into.”

Johnson was the town’s first mayor, serving five two-year terms from 1990 to 2000. He also served as town solicitor from 2008 to 2009. He was elected to the City Council in 2012, and was elected council president in 2018.

Before being reelected mayor, Johnson worked at the law firm of Johnson, Sclafani and Moriarty in West Springfield, a position he’d held for 24 years. He is now “of counsel” at the firm, a semi-retired status in which he keeps a few responsibilities, which he handles on nights and weekends.

“You can’t unwind the 24-year journey in the matter of a few weeks,” he said.

Johnson said it was upsetting to leave the practice and the connections he’s made there, but he did it because he cares for the town.

“It’s difficult to walk away from that, but I care deeply about Agawam,” he said. “That’s why I ran.”

The largest issue Johnson is facing is the new high school, which will combine renovations to the old building with new construction. The Massachusetts School Building Authority approved the project to enter the “schematic design” phase at its Dec. 13 meeting. As part of this phase, Johnson said the town is currently working out the financial situation, what the bond posting will look like, and the project’s impact on taxpayers and businesses. Once that’s complete, the town will present the information to its residents, hopefully by the end of the month.

“The plan is to hold a lot of meetings to try and get that info in the hands of as many residents and businesses as we can,” he said.

Other issues Johnson faces are the new police station; the park at Tuckahoe Turf Farm in Feeding Hills; the drainage work on North and Meadow Street; and the future drainage work in May Hollow, Westfield Street and on Main Street. Work on the next fiscal year budget is also starting.

“It’s changed a bit in the 24 years since I was here, but I’m not surprised or caught off guard by the issues that we face,” he said.

Johnson does not expect this administration to differ much from Sapelli’s. As early as the Oct. 10, 2023, preliminary election, Johnson campaigned on continuing the “spirit of cooperation” between town officials. He said the two have the same approach to solving problems.

“There’s not going to be a dramatic difference,” he said. “I’m sure there’s just going to be nuanced differences.”

Johnson concluded the interview by saying he was grateful for the people of Agawam for putting their trust into him.