Palmer said that employee furloughs, if they happen at all, would not begin until April.
"We really don't know what the year will bring until the continuing [budget] resolution is passed," Palmer said. "So it doesn't make sense to force people into a furlough situation if they can't recoup their money."
The sequester added another 4 percent to the 10 percent cuts already implemented this year by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
"Every court employee is already doing more with less," Preska told employees.
She said a number of cost-saving measures have been taken, including asking judges and law clerks not to use general lighting during weekends and instead use plug-in lamps to cut the $600,000 overtime utility bill the court saw last year.
Probation and Pretrial, she said, are cutting back on treatment costs by decreasing the amount of units of treatment for every supervisee and forgoing drug tests for people who are going to be remanded without bail.
Preska said her unit chiefs will continue to look for cost savings through buyouts, early retirements and other methods.
She also cautioned court employees that the Southern District may not have seen the worst of tight budgets, saying, "We cannot see the future but it doesn't look good." Court officials are nervously awaiting the March 27 expiration of the continuing resolution that funded their budget.
Western District Chief Clerk Michael Roemer, like his counterparts in New York City and Albany, is expecting specific allotment information by the end of next week. Until then, he said the situation is unclear.
"The administrative office has advised us to wait until April before taking any steps because nobody knows what will happen in the future," Roemer said. Echoing Palmer, he said, "Once you furlough someone or lay them off, it is very hard to unring that bell."