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The merging categories rules seems to imply that the intent of hiring reform is to have a minimum of 3 times as many candidates as open positions, where if less than 3 elgible candidates appear in the highest quality category, the next lower category may be merged. When a job announcement is posted for hiring multiple openings (i.e. Greater than 1 opening). Is the agency allowed to merge categories when they do not have greater than 3 times as many eligible candidates? Example: An agency posts an announcement to fill 20 positions under the same announcement. If the highest quality category only has 35 candidates, is the agency allowed to merge the categories to obtain a larger field of candidates?

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