The fired director of Arizona's largest state agency blames "anti-Catholic" reporters for their role in a "manufactured crisis" that led to his ouster by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Tim Jeffries, who was let go in November as director of the Department of Economic Security, says on this weekend's "Sunday Square Off" that he was well on his way to fulfilling Ducey's goal of cutting 10 percent of the DES workforce, about 770 jobs.

Jeffries had been the subject of media reports on his mass firings, the high-performing workers he let go and his treatment of those workers - labeling them as "bullies," "idiots" and "losers." After Jeffries' departure, the state offered 40 employees their jobs back.

Jeffries, who had held several jobs in private business and was a friend of Ducey's before his hiring, was open with DES staff and others about his deeply held Catholic beliefs. He could provide no evidence to support his claim that his faith played a role in any news stories about him.

Jeffries said the governor's chief of staff, Kirk Adams, initially fired him in October, but Ducey spared him.

The end came in November, after a news report that he paid for alcohol for DES employees during work hours. After Jeffries' firing, Department of Public Safety troopers seized a cache of handguns and ammunition at DES headquarters, for the private security force Jeffries was creating.

What fired Arizona agency chief admits he did wrong:

"Sunday Square Off" airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on 12 News.