Mayor Jean Quan is getting heat for not walking the walk when it comes to be being frugal with taxpayer funds.

Quan's proposed budget calls on both her and council members to cut their office budgets 5 percent each of the next two years as the city tries to balance its books while hiring more police.

But the mayor's office budget is slated to increase 19 percent from nearly $1.9 million this fiscal year to more than $2.2 million in the upcoming fiscal year, according to budget figures. That's roughly double the percentage increase proposed for Oakland's understaffed Police Department.

Quan increased spending late last year when she hired her political ally, former Assemblyman Sandrè Swanson to a $140,000 job as deputy mayor. She then hired a full-time assistant for Swanson, even though the nearly six-figure post wasn't accounted for in her budget.

Quan, whose budget proposal includes up to 28 layoffs, now faces resistance from the City Council as she seeks its approval to pay for the new job on her staff.

"It doesn't seem like an appropriate time to add a position in a political office," Councilwoman Libby Schaaf said. The council, whose office budgets are slated for cuts, must approve a two-year budget by the end of June.

Quan's spokesman, Sean Maher, said the hiring of Swanson's assistant puts the mayor's office back at 10 full-time equivalent employees -- the same staffing level as when Quan took office and less than half the staff retained by her predecessor, Ron Dellums. Maher also noted that Quan has taken a voluntary 25 percent pay cut.

Some of the increased spending projected in the mayor's office, he said, comes from rising employee health and pension costs as well as the end of mandated furlough days that had reduced labor costs.

Maher said Swanson's assistant, Carol Jones, has done important work on a project to promote black male achievement and making connections with business leaders. "We understand the importance of frugality," Maher said in a statement. "But we also need to plan and work for growth, and it's important to staff those priorities."

Swanson recovering from spinal surgery

Former Assemblyman Sandrè Swanson says he will return to his job as deputy mayor of Oakland within several weeks after taking off three months to recover from spinal surgery.

Swanson said he joined Mayor Jean Quan's staff in December assuming he might need a little time off to treat what he thought was a pinched nerve. But it turned out that he actually had bone spurs pressing against his spinal cord.

"The neurosurgeons told me that if I didn't have an operation, I would be paralyzed," he said by phone Thursday.

Swanson underwent surgery to remove the bone spurs on Feb. 27 at Stanford Hospital, where he remained for a month to begin his recuperation.

Swanson said he has been on unpaid leave from his $140,000 a year Oakland post since his vacation and sick time expired in March and that his private insurance paid for the operation and hospital stay.

He also said he is walking well and expects to have no lasting issues from the surgery.

"They took great care of me," he said. "I couldn't have been in better hands. I very thankful for that."